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We’re melting! Antarctica verifies record high temperature of 17.5 degrees

Summer has officially ended in Australia, and as we all know, it was a scorcher.

There is no doubt that the Earth is getting hotter, and we see this most clearly at the poles.

Up in the Arctic, ice hit record daily lows in January and scientists predict that the region may be ice-free by the summer of 2030 and totally ice-free by 2050. Things are so bad up there, that scientists are seriously considering wild plans such as buying 10 million fans to cool the place.

Unfortunately, things aren’t much better at the South Pole.

Scientific American recently reported on the massive crack that’s appearing throughout Antarctica’s fourth-largest ice shelf, “Larsen C”.

Larsen A and B collapsed in 1995 and 2002 respectively. When Larsen C goes, scientists believe that it will raise global sea level as much as a centimeter. It doesn’t sound like much, until you consider that on average sea levels rise about 3 millimeters a year.

The reason that we are losing ice shelves is simple: The Earth is getting hotter because of human activity and scientific evidence continues to support this.

Reuters has just reported that an Argentine research base in Antarctica has verified a heat record, measuring a temperature of 17.5 degrees.

The record was set on March 24th, 2015 but has taken almost two years to verify. This is because scientists must rigorously check the meteorological data and accuracy of all weather stations in the region.

Randall Cerveny is the chief rapporteur of climate and weather extremes at the World Meterological Organization (WMO). He told USA Today:

This investigation highlights the need to continually monitor all of the Antarctic Region is ensure that we have the best possible data for climate change analysis at both the regional and global scales.

Scientists care about verifying these extremes because they give us crucial information about weather patterns, and both natural and human-induced climate change.

The record for the broader Antarctic region, defined as anywhere south of 60 degrees latitude, was 19.8 degrees and was set on nearby Signy Island in 1982.

Weather-wise Antarctica is capable of the greatest extremes on the planet. The coldest day ever happened at the Soviet Union’s Vostok station in central Antarctica on July 21, 1983 when the temperature sunk to an incredible -89.2 degrees.

Scary thought of the day: If all of Antarctica were to melt, global sea levels would rise by 60 meters.

Thankfully, that is basically impossible and won’t happen anytime soon. However, unless we do something now, the problem of climate change won’t just go away.

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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