Antarctica Hit Record-High Temp Of 63 Degrees And Was Warmer Than NY

by Sean Levinson

Antarctica hit its highest temperature to date last Tuesday at 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Washington DC was 46 degrees that day compared to 45 degrees in Manhattan and 50 degrees in London, VICE News reports.

The record-breaking temperature was recorded at the Esperanza Base, which is on the northern part of the  Antarctic Peninsula, pointing toward Argentina.

Temperatures in the area have gone up by 5 degrees over the past 50 years.

The Washington Post quotes a written statement from The British Antarctic Survey as saying,

[This] makes this the most rapidly warming region in the Southern Hemisphere -- comparable to rapidly warming regions of the Arctic.

Antarctica's previous highest temperature record was 62.8 degrees Fahrenheit, recorded on April 24, 1961.

While global warming's effects have been well-documented over the years, scientists are hesitant to assign it to a single temperature change.

Hugh Ducklow, a professor at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, noted that one day of extreme weather doesn't indicate a trend.

Ducklow told VICE News,

I don't believe that you can attribute any isolated event to global warming. This is just like saying the next 100-degree day or next hurricane in NYC is due to global warming. A warmer climate could increase the likelihood of occurrence of hot days, but the individual events are not 'caused' by global warming.

Jordan Gerth, a researcher at the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, agrees with Ducklow's statement.

Gerth told CNBC that temperatures like this aren't too much of a surprise considering the Southern Hemisphere is just finishing its summer.

Gerth added however,

...If we see these events happening more frequently over the next decade or so, it could be a larger story to tell.

Such patterns are anticipated, thanks to a new study which reveals that Antarctica's ice shelves have shrunk up to 18 percent over the past 18 years, according to VICE News.

This is due to an increase in warm water under the floating shelves. This melts the ice, which in turn is causing sea levels to rise at an accelerated rate.

Should sea levels remain on this course, a tropical storm occurring in the next 50 to a 100 years could dwarf the impact of Hurricane Sandy.

Lamont-Doherty professor Doug Martinson told VICE News,

I don't like to say 'doomsday scenario' but this is sort of pointing toward it.

He added it may be far too late to prevent the wrath of climate change.

Even if temperatures stopped rising, Martinson said, the ocean is already so full of heat that Antarctica would continue to melt at the same rate.

Citations: It Was Warmer in Antarctica Than in New York City Last Week (VICE), Antarctica hits highest temp recorded and heres what it means (CNBC), Antarctica may have set its highest temperature ever recorded Tuesday (The Washington Post)