Antarctica Breaks New Temperature Record After Temp Reaches Nearly 70 Degrees

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Antarctica likely broke its record for the hottest temperature on record with a nearly 70-degree reading on Feb. 9.

Just days after hitting a record-breaking temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit, Antarctica appeared to break the record again when a weather station on the continent recorded a temperature of nearly 70 degrees, according to The Washington Post.

On February 9, the temperature reached 69.3 degrees, Márcio Rocha Francelino, a professor at the Federal University of Vicosa in Brazil reported.

The Post noted that the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is currently reviewing the reading to verify whether it is officially the hottest temperature ever recorded on Antarctica.

Randall Cerveny, a meteorologist at Arizona State University who verifies extremes for the WMO, said the reading is a “likely record” but added that caution is due, as “many questions will have to be answered before the nearly 70-degree reading is considered the hottest temperature yet recorded on the planet’s coldest continent.”

“We will want to look very critically at the station’s metadata (how long was it in place, how good has its observations been, what type of instruments were used, when were they last calibrated, etc.),” he told The Post in an email. “All of those things are critical to determining the validity of the observation.”

But Jefferson C. Simões, a glaciologist at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul and a vice president of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, was less sure the temperature would meet WMO’s criteria to set an official record.

“It is an important measurement” for confirming the “heat wave” in the northernmost part of the continent, Simões said. “But it will not be recognized by WMO, because it was not measured in [a] standard weather station with a long time record,” he explained in an email to The Post.

Simões cited the thermometer’s height as a factor that might lead WMO to discount it. “Most standard weather stations have a measurement height of two meters, and this reading was taken at 1½ meters,” The Post reported, noting that “the temperature can be higher if taken closer to the ground.”

Read the full report.


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