It has been much warmer than usual in recent days in both the Arctic and Antarctica. Antarctic weather stations recorded record temperatures: in some areas the temperature was 40 degrees higher than normal at this time of year. Parts of the Arctic were 30 degrees warmer than usual.
In the Antarctic city of Vostok, located at an altitude of about 3,500 meters, the temperature was unusually high – 17.7 ° C on Friday. On the coast, temperatures were at 7 degrees well above freezing, reports the Washington Post. That’s while in the Southern Hemisphere summer is nearly approaching, so temperatures in Antarctica are supposed to drop.
Temperatures around freezing were measured in the Arctic last week. At the end of winter and early spring, temperatures are usually much lower there, around -25 degrees.
It is remarkable that it is very hot at both poles at the same time. “These are two opposite seasons. We’ve never seen the Arctic and Antarctic melt at the same time,” US glaciologist Walt Meyer told the Associated Press news agency. “This is absolutely extraordinary,” says Gerrit Hemstra, a meteorologist at NOS.
Extremely high temperatures in the Arctic and Antarctica are caused by regions of low pressure. In the Arctic, there is an area of low pressure near eastern Canada and the United States that pushes warm air from south to north. Near Antarctica there are a series of low pressure areas that allow warm air to flow over most of the continent.
I’ve never seen so little sea ice
As a result of the high temperatures, a relatively large amount of ice is melting. In the Arctic, the ice has melted since February, which usually doesn’t start until mid-March.
Since the first measurement in 1979, there has been little sea ice in Antarctica at the end of summer in the Southern Hemisphere. There is now less than 2 million square kilometers of ice around the continent. Much of the ice will grow again in the coming months as fall and winter turn into fall and winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
Scientists are not entirely sure that the unusually high temperatures are caused by climate change. It is easier to determine if these high temperatures occur more often at the poles and thus there is a trend. “But that wouldn’t have happened without climate change,” Hemstra says.
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