A new record temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius) was set on Thursday

By Gabrielle Chung
February 07, 2020 06:07 PM
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Adriana Tamayo/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty

It’s T-shirt weather in the coldest place on Earth.

Scientists located on the northern tip of Antarctica experienced the warmest temperature ever recorded on the continent on Thursday, according to Argentina’s national meteorological service (SMN).

Tweets from the agency said temperatures of nearly 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius) were recorded by workers at the Esperanza research station around noon, surpassing the previous record of 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit (17.5 degrees Celsius) set on March 24, 2015 at the same base.

Another tweet from the SMN said that the nearby Marambio research station also logged the highest temperature of 57.3 degrees Fahrenheit (14.1 degrees Celsius) for the month of February, exceeding the previous record 56.8 degrees Fahrenheit (13.8 degrees Celsius) held on Feb. 24, 2013.

Argentina has been tracking temperatures from Esperanza since 1961, while records from Marambio date back to 1971.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has not verified the record-breaking temperature, though the institution believes the new findings are accurate.

“Everything we have seen thus far indicates a likely legitimate record, but we will of course begin a formal evaluation of the record once we have full data from SMN and on the meteorological conditions surrounding the event,” WMO’s Randall Cerveny said in a release. “The record appears to be likely associated (in the short term) with what we call a regional ‘foehn’ event over the area: a rapid warming of air coming down a slope/mountain.”

The Antarctic Peninsula — the northwest tip near South America where the two Argentinian bases are located — is among the fastest warming areas in in the world, rising almost 37.4 degrees Fahrenheit (20.78 degrees Celsius) over the last 50 years, according to the WMO.

The amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic ice sheet have also increased at least six-fold between 1979 and 2017, the organization said.

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Scientists determined 2019 was the second-hottest year on record in separate but similar reports by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and NASA released in January.

The records, which scientists began compiling in 1880, show that the last five years have been the planet’s warmest, with 2016 currently topping the list by just 0.07 of a degree Fahrenheit.

The years 2017, 2015 and 2018 followed closely behind in third, fourth and fifth place, respectively, NOAA reported.

Researchers were able to conclude that the average temperature across Earth in 2019 was 1.71 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average, making it the 43rd consecutive year where the land and water temperatures were above average, according to NOAA.