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Antarctica: Heat wave in the last Gallic town of global warming

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The ozone hole is involved in record temperatures in East Antarctica. The good news: the ice sheet is not yet melting. The climate crisis is a long time coming.

When and to what extent will climate change also affect Antarctica? Researchers are looking at this in the western part of the continent, for example here on Horseshoe Island. © Sebnem Coskun/​Anadolu Agency/​Getty Images

autumn in South Pole Just getting started. Anyone who had been out walking in the highlands of East Antarctica in the last few days, probably no one would have probably froze without proper winter clothing for the polar climate. And yet, the temperatures were absolutely mild for this coldest region of the world. It was hotter than anyone has ever measured there. Weather stations recorded temperatures ten or more degrees Celsius above normal for this time of year over the past week. East Antarctica is experiencing extreme temperatures that researchers never thought possible.

The Concordia measuring station, which is located in the center of East Antarctica and is operated by French and Italian scientists, recorded temperatures of almost minus twelve degrees Celsius on March 18. That’s more than was ever measured at the end of the Antarctic summer. At this time of year, the average temperature is minus 50 degrees Celsius, that is, a difference of 40 degrees Celsius.

This is absolutely unprecedented, as many experts publicly emphasized. “This is not a bug or a typo,” Robert Rohde, a researcher at Berkeley Earth, an organization that specializes in analyzing temperature data, wrote on Twitter. And climatologist Jonathan Wille of the Université Grenoble Alpes wrote in an email: “This event is certainly changing the way we as scientists think about the Antarctic climate system.”

“Here in Germany, records are sometimes broken by one or two tenths of a degree Celsius,” says Markus Rex of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in an interview with ZEIT ONLINE. “When you break a temperature record by 15 degrees Celsius, it’s impressive. I can only agree with my colleagues.”

That now, after so many other places in recent months (the list of which would go beyond the scope here), the coldest region on the planet is also an unprecedented region. heat wave experienced may not be a complete surprise to some. Because essentially what is happening is exactly what experts in the field have been predicting for a long time: global warming is particularly evident in the fact that heat waves are increasing and becoming more extreme.

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