Antarctica, Earth's coldest, most barren continent, may have just set a remarkably unusual weather record. An Argentinian research station on the rapidly warming Antarctic Peninsula recorded a high temperature of 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit (17.5 degrees Celsius) on March 24, according to reports from Weather Underground.
If this is investigated and verified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), it could become the highest temperature on record for the entire continent of Antarctica.
The warmth at the Esperanza research station came one day after a nearly identical high temperature was logged at another Argentinean base, known as Base Marambio, also located along the Antarctic Peninsula. Interestingly, the mild conditions occurred during the Antarctic fall, not the height of summer.
More broadly, the Antarctic ice sheet is proving to be far more dynamic than scientists thought was the case just two decades ago. A study published on Thursday, for example, found that the loss rate of Antarctic ice shelves, which play a crucial roll in buttressing inland glaciers and preventing them from sliding quickly into the sea, has accelerated by 70% in just the past decade.
This may mean that climate scientists will need to raise their global sea level rise projections. Such projections also take into account ice loss from the Greenland ice sheet, where temperatures are also increasing rapidly.