Antarctica’s highest-ever temperature confirmed, beating 2015 record

Brittany A. Roston - Jul 6, 2021, 3:28pm CDT
Antarctica’s highest-ever temperature confirmed, beating 2015 record

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has confirmed a new highest-ever recorded temperature that occurred in Antarctica back in February 2020, one that slightly eclipsed the previous record recorded in 2015. Though that temperature was confirmed and accepted, the organization rejected an even higher temperature that was reported a couple of days later.

The record-breaking temperature of 18.3C (64.94F) was recorded by Argentina’s Esperanza station on February 6, 2020, and confirmed by the WMO on July 1, 2021. The figure exceeds the previous record of 17.5C (63.5F) recorded by the same station in March 2015.

However, the organization rejected a different temperature recorded on February 9, 2020, by Brazil’s station on Seymour Island. The station had recorded a temperature of 20.75C (69.35F), which the WMO ultimately rejected after determining that a makeshift radiation shield at the monitoring station may have caused “a demonstrable thermal bias error.”

The confirmed temperature, meanwhile, will be added to the Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes maintained by the WMO. In a statement about the verification, WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas said:

Verification of this maximum temperature record is important because it helps us to build up a picture of the weather and climate in one of Earth’s final frontiers. Even more so than the Arctic, the Antarctic is poorly covered in terms of continuous and sustained weather and climate observations and forecasts, even though both play an important role in driving climate and ocean patterns and in sea level rise.


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