Also on a nearby Antarctic island, Trinity Island, a record temperature was measured last week (18.3 degrees). The previous record there was at 17.5 degrees (in 2015).
The record temperatures were measured at the part of the peninsula that juts out towards South America. That is the strongest warming area. “The area is a bit of a strange duck in contrast to the rest of Antarctica, where there is hardly any warming,” nuances Kuipers Munneke.
“Cork of the bottle”
Due to the high temperatures, many floating parts of glaciers disappear around the peninsula. They work like a cork on a bottle, explains Kuipers Munneke. “They stop the underlying ice lying on the land. If those floating pieces of glaciers disappear, then the cork of the bottle is removed and ice comes into the sea with it.”
ESA shared satellite images yesterday showing how earlier this month a huge mass of ice is breaking down on the Pine Island glacier, on the west side of Antarctica. “That is actually a completely different story,” says Kuipers Munneke. “This happened thousands of miles away.”
The images made from space show how a crack first appears in the ice mass, after which it breaks down and falls apart: