Uh Oh, Antarctica Just Set a New Heat Record

Illustration for article titled Uh Oh, Antarctica Just Set a New Heat Record
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It’s positively balmy in Antarctica. The National Meteorological Service of Argentina announced on Twitter that its Esperanza weather station recorded a new high for the continent: 18.3 degrees Celsius (64.9 degrees Fahrenheit).

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The previous temperature record for Antarctica was set on March 24, 2015, when this same weather station recorded 17.5 degrees Celsius (63.5 degrees Fahrenheit) near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula closest to South America. Antarctica may be one of the coldest zones on Earth, but it’s also one of the fastest-warming places: The World Meteorological Organization reports that the peninsula has warmed almost 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) over the last half-century.

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All this heat is driving sea-level rise around the world, as glaciers and ice sheets melt and enter the ocean. The northern pole in the Arctic isn’t faring all that much better, as global warming continues to drive sea ice loss there, which is further accelerating climate change because the oceans depend on these white surfaces to reflect sunlight. Instead, the ocean is absorbing more and more heat, which is a major threat to marine wildlife.

Both poles are suffering—and it’s all our fault. Or, rather, it’s the fault of some 100 fossil fuel companies that have driven much of our planet’s warming and denied climate change was even real for much of the 21st century, despite knowing damn well how real it was.

All these greenhouse gas emissions are putting Antarctica in a tough spot. This region is home to wonderful penguins, not mention crumbling glaciers that have the potential to put our coasts underwater. We’re slowly losing this ice. And if it were to all melt, our oceans would rise some 200 feet. Preventing this scary future will require dramatically reining in the greenhouse gas emissions of the fossil fuel companies that created this mess.

Yessenia Funes is climate editor at Atmos Magazine. She loves Earther forever.

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DISCUSSION

dnapl
Dense non aqueous phase liquid

Not good.

I’m not sure if this was linked above - didn’t check all the hyperlinks. And I linked this in another post way down in a comment thread, but hey, I’ll link it again. PBS NOVA just aired a wonderful program called Polar Extremes. Nothing like matter of fact science communications, with geology (lots o’ geology) and graphs and all, to freak you out.

Polar Extremes

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/polar-extremes/

In this two-hour special, renowned paleontologist Kirk Johnson takes us on an epic adventure through time at the polar extremes of our planet. Following a trail of strange fossils found in all the wrong places—beech trees in Antarctica, hippo-like mammals in the Arctic—Johnson uncovers the bizarre history of the poles, from miles-high ice sheets to warm polar forests teeming with life. What caused such dramatic changes at the ends of the Earth? And what can the past reveal about our planet’s climate today—and in the future? (Premiered February 5, 2020)

Fuck, since I’m like a mom with the newspaper clippings - here’s a well written and easily understandable paper, actually by climate scientists, on paleo climate research:

What can Palaeoclimate Modelling do for you?

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s41748-019-00093-1

What can palaeoclimate modelling do for you? We provide an assessment of how palaeoclimate modelling can develop in the future to further enhance multidisciplinary research that aims to understand Earth’s evolution, and what this may tell us about the resilience of natural and social systems as we enter the Anthropocene.