It is currently warmer than usual in Antarctica. Temperatures were measured there last week which are more than 40 degrees higher than normal for this time of year.
On Friday, -17.7 degrees were measured in Vostok at an altitude of about 3,500 metres, a record. Temperatures of at least 7 degrees were measured on the coast. Temperatures should drop at this time of year as summer draws to a close. “Freezing days do happen sometimes, but never after February 22,” said Gaetan Himes of the Meteo-France weather service. He talks about “historically mild” temperatures of 40 degrees above seasonal averages.
A series of low pressure areas around Antarctica allow warm air to flow far closer to the south of the continent. This explains the recent heat. The jet stream, which usually surrounds the area and keeps the heat out and the cold in, hasn’t shut down yet. This doesn’t seem to be going perfectly for the next few days. Within a week, a similar phenomenon could occur on the western side.
There is no extreme cold in the Arctic. Since it usually freezes around 25 degrees at this time, the temperature barely drops below zero. Wauter van Bernbeek made it clear earlier this week.”
It often does not happen that a stream of warm air travels a long distance to the north. “Usually there’s an obstacle in the way that stops the flow,” van Bernebeek says. “That hasn’t happened now.”
The weather scientist adds that this phenomenon cannot be attributed to climate change. We don’t see it often, but it used to be. In the Arctic, the temperature can fluctuate by up to 80 degrees, so these kinds of effects are noticeable.”
Van Bernbeek remains concerned about the temperature. “The fact that the temperature is fluctuating may not have anything to do with global warming, but that the temperature is now above freezing is concerning.”
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