Antarctica may have just recorded its hottest day ever. The temperature was recorded at the Esperanza base, which is located at the northernmost tip of the Antarctica Peninsula. So what was the temperature that may set a new record for the icy continent?
According to Time, Antarctica set a new record high of 63.3 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday, but the record was smashed almost immediately with a reading of 63.5 degrees on Tuesday. Prior to the two record-breaking readings this week, the warmest day recorded in Antarctica was on April 24, 1961, with a temperature of 62.8 degrees.
The British Antarctic Study reports that in the Antarctica summer, which runs December through February, the icy continent hovers around freezing. However, it is noted that the Norther Peninsula, which is where the record-breaking temperatures were recorded, is warmer than the rest of the continent as it is located just north of the Antarctic Circle. However, even with its location being outside of the Antarctic Circle, the vast majority of the summer is spent with temperatures rarely above 35.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This means the temperatures recorded on Monday and Tuesday are considerably higher than normal.
Though the recording is impressive for the region, the World Meteorological Organization is still investigating whether or not the official record was broken as the Northernmost section of the Antarctica Peninsula is disputed territory, with Argentina laying claim to a portion of the area. Therefore, it must be determined if the reading was indeed in Antarctica or if the area would be considered part of Argentina.
Some have blamed global warming for the rising temperatures in Antarctica, noting that the outermost portions of ice along the coast is melting. Some studies suggest that the ice shelves have thinned by 18 percent in the past two decades, with the shrinkage linked to rising sea levels. Some even warn that half of the entire ice shelves volume could be lost within the next 200 years if something is not done.
“The ice shelf shrinkage is indirectly linked to rising sea levels, and current volume reduction rates have scientists projecting that half the volume of ice shelves in western Antarctica may be lost in 200 years.”
However, not everyone agrees. Some call the fluctuation a normal part of the Earth’s cycling process, with some even claiming the ice levels are increasing.
“The Antarctic is actually growing and all the evidence in the last few months suggests many assumptions about the poles was wrong.”
What do you think? Is Antarctica in a crisis situation due to global warming or is it all part of a natural cycle that takes place on the planet?
[Image Credit: Getty Images/ Pool]