United Nations reports new record high temperature in Antarctica


SWITZERLAND (AP) — The UN weather agency said on Friday that an Argentine research base on the northern tip of Antarctica is reporting a temperature that, if confirmed, could be a record high for the continent.

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) spokeswoman Clare Nullis, citing figures from Argentina’s national weather service, said the Esperanza base recorded 18.3 degrees Celsius [ 64.94°F] on Thursday – topping the former record of 17.5 degrees [63.5°F] tallied in March 2015.

The WMO’s committee that draws on the agency’s weather and climate archives is now expected to verify whether the reading would amount to a new record.  

“This particular part of the Antarctic Peninsula is warming very quickly. Over the past 50 years it’s warmed almost three degrees Celsius [5.4°F],” said Nullis.

WMO said the Antarctic Peninsula, on the continent’s northwest tip near South America, is among the fastest warming regions on Earth – at almost three degrees Celsius over the last half-century.

Some 87 percent of glaciers along the west coast of the peninsula have retreated over that 50-year span, with most showing an accelerated retreat over the last 12 years, WMO said.

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