After the record of 18.3 ° C recorded on February 7 in Argentine Antarctica, a new heat peak was reached in Antarctica on February 9. For the very first time in history, the symbolic bar of 20 ° C has been surpassed in the Antarctic region, reports the Guardian.
Brazilian scientists recorded a temperature of 20.75 ° C last Sunday on the Ecuadorian island of Seymour. The previous record on this island in the Galapagos archipelago dates from January 1982 and amounted to 19.8 ° C.
An “incredible and abnormal” record
These researchers, who collect data from remote monitoring stations every three days, described the new record as “incredible and abnormal”. “We are experiencing climate change that is closely related to the changes in permafrost (permanently frozen ground) and the ocean. Everything is very closely linked.”
The British newspaper stresses however that these recent readings will have to be confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization. While temperatures remain relatively stable in eastern and central Antarctica, scientists are increasingly concerned about the heat spikes in its western part.
The ongoing ice melt on the Antarctic Peninsula has been increasingly evident in recent years, especially since winter temperatures have increased.
Galloping ice melting
This region of the world stores about 70% of the world’s fresh water in the form of snow and ice. If this ice were to melt, the sea level would rise by 50 to 60 meters over several generations, recalls the British daily.
After a record decade, which ended with a year 2019 which was the second hottest ever recorded on the planet, the 2020s start on the same trend with a hottest January ever recorded. In addition, an annual bulletin from the American Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) revealed last December that the Arctic had its second warmest year in 2019 since 1900.
A direct consequence of the rise in temperatures due to human activities: the two ice caps on the planet, in Antarctica and Greenland, have already lost an average of 430 billion tonnes per year since 2006, raising the level of the oceans.