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Antarctic temperatures break 60 degrees Fahrenheit

Thursday, March 2, 2017 13:49
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The World Meteorological Organization has announced its analysis of record-high temperatures across Antarctica, ranging from the high 60s Fahrenheit in some locations, to the high teens in others.

“The temperatures we announced today are the absolute limit to what we have measured in Antarctica,” Randy Cerveny, an expert of geographical science with the WMO, said in a news release. “Comparing them to other places around the world and seeing how other places have changed in relation to Antarctica gives us a much better understanding of how climate interacts, and how changes in one part of the world can impact other places.”

Because Antarctica is so large, about the size of the United States, the WMO committee used three temperature assessments in their recent analysis. The team found that the warmest temperature for “Antarctic region,” defined as all land and ice south of 60 degrees latitude, was 67.6 degrees F, which was identified on Jan. 30, 1982 at Borge Bay on Signy Island. The warmest temperature for the continent and adjoining islands was 63.5 degrees F, recorded on Mar. 24, 2015 near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The warmest temperature for the Antarctic Plateau, at or above 8,200 feet, was 19.4 degrees F, documented on Dec. 28, 1980, inland from the Adelie Coast.

Massive Temperature Increases

The WMO also reported that average yearly temperature ranges spanned from 14 F to -76 F at the highest points in the interior.

Cerveny said watching the temperature extremes at the Polar Regions can supply a better idea of the planet’s interconnected weather systems.

“The polar regions of our planet have been termed the ‘canary’ in our global environment,” said Cerveny, a professor at Arizona State University. “Because of their sensitivity to climate changes, sometimes the first influences of changes in our global environment can be seen in the north and south polar regions. Knowledge of the weather extremes in these locations, therefore, becomes particularly important to the entire world.”

The climate expert added that knowing the causes behind the temperature extremes is even more important.

“In the case of the Antarctic extremes, two of them were the result of what are called ‘foehn’ winds – what we call Chinook winds – very warm downslope winds that can very rapidly heat up a place,” Cerveny said. “These winds are found even here in the United States, particularly along the front range of the Rockies. The more we learn about how they vary around the world, the better we can understand them even here in the United States.”


Image credit: Thinkstock

The post Antarctic temperatures break 60 degrees Fahrenheit appeared first on Redorbit.
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