Antarctica hits record temperatures, say experts

A research station registered record temperatures of 4.9 deg C when temperatures are normally sub-zero. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Eastern Antarctica has recorded exceptionally high temperatures this week, more than 30 deg C above normal, say experts.

The Concordia research base at Dome C of the Antarctic, which is at an altitude of 3,000m (9,800 feet), on Friday (March 18) registered a record -11.5 deg C, Mr Etienne Kapikian, a meteorologist from France-Meteo tweeted.

Normally, temperatures fall with the end of the southern summer, but the Dumont d'Urville station on Antarctica registered record temperatures for March with 4.9 deg C, at a time of year when normally temperatures are already sub-zero.

Mr Gaetan Heymes of France Meteo described the unseasonably mild weather as a "historic event".

And geoscientist Jonathan Wille wrote on Twitter: "And there it is, Concordia broke its all time record temperature by 1.5°C.

"This is when temperatures should be rapidly falling since the summer solstice in December.

"This is a Pacific Northwest 2021 heatwave kind of event," he added. "Never supposed to happen."

The unprecedented temperatures come after the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in the United States said Antarctica's sea ice fell below two million sq km (772,204 sq miles) in late February for the first time since 1979.

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