In a rattling new development, a research station in Antarctica registered the highest temperature ever recorded on the icy continent: 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
Argentina’s Esperanza Base on the northern edge of Antarctica’s Trinity Peninsula marked the high (18.3 Celsius) on Thursday. The previous record was 63.5 degrees on March 24, 2015.
The United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization is organizing a panel of experts to verify the finding. But a WMO statement noted: “Everything we have seen thus far indicates a likely legitimate record.”
WMO will set up expert panel to verify new record temperature for the #Antarctic continent reported by @SMN_Argentina of 18.3°C on 6 Feb at Esperanza research base. Latest news on this and Antarctic glaciers at https://t.co/CtDFFsUG0h pic.twitter.com/9gpfLxFKls
— WMO | OMM (@WMO) February 7, 2020
The record is startling because the last one was set just five years ago, and the new one is almost 1 degree higher, climate scientist James Renwick of Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand told The Guardian.
“To have a new record set that quickly is surprising — but who knows how long that will last? Possibly not that long at all,” warned Renwick, who has helped verify other records in the past.
More extreme warmth is likely in the area in the next few days with temperatures as high as 50 degrees above normal predicted by some weather models.
The Antarctic Peninsula is among the fastest-warming regions of the planet, according to the WMO. Average temperatures have soared 5 degrees in just 50 years, threatening the ice shelf and glaciers, which can catastrophically increase sea levels as they melt. The amount of ice lost annually from the continent’s ice sheet increased at least sixfold from 1979 to 2017.
Cracks in the massive Pine Island Glacier “have been growing rapidly” in the last few days, as shown on satellite images, according to the WMO.
Thursday’s record high follows Earth’s warmest January on record.
❄️🔴Cracks in the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica 🇦🇶 have been growing rapidly over the last days, as can be seen in this #Sentinel1 🛰️🇪🇺 comparison of 02 & 05 February 2020. The glacier has been losing #ice dramatically & experienced a series of calvings in the last 25 years. pic.twitter.com/uKcbZmp45F
— Copernicus EU (@CopernicusEU) February 6, 2020
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called the new high temperature “insane.” Others on Twitter had similar reactions.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer quipped to readers that if they needed a break from chilly city weather, they could head to Antarctica. Twitter responses also noted it was warmer in Antarctica than in New Orleans, San Diego and Los Angeles.
Spring weather in Antarctica is truly insane.
Climate change is an existential threat to humanity. We must mobilize America and the rest of the world accordingly. https://t.co/gR37EIutSA
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 7, 2020
The hottest temp ever recorded in #Antarctica were measured on Thursday. It was nearly 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 Celsius).
We're in a #climateemergency. Time our govts did something about it. #ActOnClimate #go100re#ClimateCrisis #ClimateAction #renewables #PanelsNotPipelines pic.twitter.com/uUQb2e3vAg
— Mike Hudema (@MikeHudema) February 7, 2020
Good grief--temperature in Antarctica hits 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3C) crushing the old record for the continenthttps://t.co/grudG3m8JI
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) February 7, 2020
ANTARCTICA REACHED 65 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT TODAY, shattering all heat records. Yet they STILL says global warming is a hoax, and their cult followers agree... while Big Oil continues to rake in billions as the world burns. WHEN WILL THE MADNESS END?!
— Mohamad Safa (@mhdksafa) February 7, 2020
1. melting is accelerating
2. record melt of 15%: Dec 2019
3. hottest day ever 18.3°C: Feb 2020
4. irreversible collapse has begun
5. rapid deglaciation of West Antarctica set to begin by 2027 with staggering consequences for humanity
6. sea level rise chaos by 2035 pic.twitter.com/eGAaQauOXn
— Ben See (@ClimateBen) February 7, 2020
It’s 65 degrees in Antarctica, and people are upset when protesters block streets to call for climate action.
Our house is on fire, and people are upset when kids block the street outside trying to wave down the fire department.
— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) February 7, 2020
As Antarctica transforms into prime real estate for a Sandals Resort, here are the top recipients of oil & gas industry cash:
Mitt Romney: $7.6M
John Cornyn: $4M
Ted Cruz: $3.6M
Mitch McConnell: $2.4M
Jim Inhofe: $2.1M
Kevin Brady: $1.9M
Kevin McCarthy: $1.9M https://t.co/G8rbTm2cJi
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) February 7, 2020
So you mean to tell me it’s the same temperature in LA as it is in Antarctica rn? Earth... you in danger girl
— Trace Lysette (@tracelysette) February 7, 2020
I'm not a climate scientist, but if you can be outside in Antarctica wearing a t-shirt and not die, something is probably wrong. https://t.co/PChiDRzOM4
— Ryan Boyd (@ryanaboyd) February 7, 2020
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.