Feb 14, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Antarctica hits 69 degrees days after record-breaking heat

Aerial view of Glaciers from the Chilean Air Force Helicopter during flight to Brazilian Station Comandante Ferraz in December 2019. Photo: Alessandro Dahan/Getty Images

A weather station in Antarctica recorded a temperature of 69.3°F on February 9 — just days after the world's coldest continent hit a record-breaking 65°F, The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The United Nation's World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has yet to confirm this is the hottest recorded temperature. It's nonetheless an important finding that confirms a heatwave hit the most northern part of Antarctica, the Post writes.

Stat of play: The high temperature was recorded at Seymour Island in the Antarctic Peninsula. The WMO is working on reviewing the reading to see if it qualifies as the hottest temperature, per the Post.

  • Jefferson C. Simões, a glaciologist at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul and vice president of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research told the Post he doesn't believe the measurement will meet the WMO's standards for an official record.

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Antarctica hits its warmest temperature in recorded history

The sun shines over China's Kunlun Station in Antarctica in 2019. Photo: Liu Shiping/Xinhua via Getty Images

Argentina's Esperanza Base on Antarctica's Trinity Peninsula reached 65°F (18.3°C) on Thursday, notching the continent's warmest temperature in recorded history, per the World Meteorological Organization.

Why it matters: Antarctica is one of the globe's fastest-warming regions with temperatures rising 5°F (2.8°C) in the past 50 years, spurring the retreat of 87% of the glaciers along the Antarctic peninsula's west coast, the Washington Post reports.

Heat wave melts 20% of snow cover from Antarctic island in days

The effects of February's record heat wave on Eagle Island in Antarctica. Photo: NASA

Antarctica's Eagle Island now has a side that's almost ice-free following this month's searing heat wave in the region, images released by NASA show.

Why it matters: "The warm spell caused widespread melting on nearby glaciers," NASA said in its report. It's the third major melt event of the 2019–2020 Southern Hemisphere summer, following warm spells in January and last November, according to the United Nation's World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

"Far-reaching" winter storm to impact travel across the U.S.

Fire crews work in snow to put out a house fire in Denver, Colorado. Photo: RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A powerful storm system that's seen temperatures plummet in the Rockies is set to bring heavy rain across the Southeast "and a long stretch of wintry weather from the southern Plains to the interior Northeast," the National Weather Service warns.

What's happening: Per the NWS, the effects of the system will be "far-reaching" and impact travel in a vast area that's likely to affect millions of people. Multiple weather-related crashes have already been reported in Denver — including one fatality, per the Denver Post. The city's temperature fell 58 degrees from a "daily-record-tying high of 74 at 2 p.m. Sunday to 16 degrees by 8 p.m. Monday," the Washington Post notes.

Flashback... In photos: Impact of powerful Thanksgiving storms across the U.S.