Antarctica shock: Temperatures break 20C mark for first time in Antarctica

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Scientists in the world’s most southern continent recorded a temperature of 20.75C at Seymour Island in western Antarctica. It is the first time since records began that the 20C barrier has been broken, dwarfing the previous record of 19.8C, taken on Signy Island in January 1982.

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Scientists described the new record as “incredible and abnormal”.

Carlos Schaefer, who works on a project that looks at the impact of climate change in the Antarctic, said: “We’d never seen a temperature this high in Antarctica.

“We are seeing the warming trend in many of the sites we are monitoring, but we have never seen anything like this.”

He added: “We can’t use this to anticipate climatic changes in the future. It’s a data point.

antarctica

Antarctica shock: Temperatures break 20C mark for first time in Antarctica (Image: GETTY)

seymour island

The temperature was recorded on Seymour Island (Image: GETTY)

“It’s simply a signal that something different is happening in that area.”

Dr Schaefer said the reading was taken as part of a 20 year research project into the impact of climate change.

Over the last two decades, temperatures in Antarctica have become increasingly sporadic, which they have attributed to the influential shifts in ocean currents and El Nino events.

Experts at the Brazilian Antarctic programme said: “We have climatic changes in the atmosphere, which is closely related to changes in permafrost and the ocean. The whole thing is very interrelated.”

READ MORE: Antarctica: 40 million-year-old ‘colossus’ animal stunned scientists

POLES

The poles are melting (Image: EXPRESS)

Since 1975, the world has been warming at an alarming rate, with scientists stating that the global temperature has risen by roughly 0.15-0.20C per decade.

While this figure seems relatively low, global warming is undoubtably having an effect on the polar ice caps which continue to melt.

Since 1979, the volume of ice in the Arctic, or North Pole, has shrunk by an astonishing 80 percent – which scientists have warned will cause major sea level rises.

If just the West Antarctic Ice sheet, where the Pine Island Glacier is, were to completely melt, sea levels would rise by three metres.

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EARTH

The Earth is heating up (Image: EXPRESS)

Climate models have shown that a sea level rise of more than two metres could permanently submerge large parts of the British coastline with the likes of Hull, Peterborough, Portsmouth and parts of East London and the Thames Estuary all under threat.

The planet has already seen an increase of 1C compared to pre-industrial levels which will contribute massively to the melting of the ice caps and subsequent sea level rise.

As it stands, sea levels are rising at about 8mm a year due to melting ice, and while that does not seem like much, the implications for future generations could be huge.

Between 1993 and 2014, sea levels rose by 66mm – or roughly 3mm per year. If it continues at the current rate, or gets faster, it could mean coastal cities such as New York could be submerged by the end of the century.


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