Antarctica mystery as bizarre anomaly recorded in frozen continent – ‘That’s impossible’

Shackleton's ship 'Endurance' found off the coast of Antarctica

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Experts have warned that parts of Eastern Antarctica have recorded bizarrely high temperatures this week, more than 30 degrees Celsius above normal. According to Etienne Kapikian, a meteorologist from France-Meteo, the Concordia research base at Dome C of the Antarctic, which is at an altitude of 3,000 metres, on Friday registered a record -11.5C.

Stefano Di Battista, a journalist covering Antarctica climatology, tweeted: “It is impossible, we would have said until two days ago.

“From today (March 18) the Antarctic climatology has been rewritten.

“At Concordia, the high recorded -12.2C and broken the absolute maximum set on December 17, 2016 (-13.7C).”

He also noted that at Vostok, a Russian research station, the provisional high temperature was -20.3C. 

Usually, the temperatures fall with the end of the southern summer, however, the Dumont d’Urville station on Antarctica registered record temperatures for March with 4.9C, at a time of year when temperatures are generally already sub-zero.

Gaetan Heymes of France Meteo described this abnormal weather as a “historic event”.

Geoscientist Jonathan Wille wrote on Twitter: “And there it is, Concordia broke its all-time record temperature by 1.5C.

“This is when temperatures should be rapidly falling since the summer solstice in December.

“This is a Pacific Northwest 2021 heatwave kind of event. Never supposed to happen.”

These extreme temperatures came shortly after the National Snow and Ice Data Center in the United States warned that Antarctica’s sea ice had fallen below two million square kilometres in late February for the first time since 1979.

Scientists also recorded unusually high temperatures in the Arctic region in the past few days, as researchers warn that climate change will also aggravate extreme temperatures. 

Over the past few days, several stations near the north pole reached 30C above normal.

Temperatures in Norway reached record levels, with even more unusually warm temperatures recorded in Greenland and the Russian archipelago of Franz Josef Land.

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On Friday, the Arctic region as a whole was 3.3C warmer than the 1979 to 2000 average.

According to Dr Zachary Labe, a climate scientist at Colorado State University: “Both of these weather events are related to the poleward transport of heat and moisture.”

Alex Sen Gupta, an associate professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, warned that the strong winds coming from Australia were contributing to the unusual temperatures in Antarctica.

He said: “We have had a combination of strong weather systems over the Southern Ocean to the south of Australia that aligned to produce very strong polewards winds stretching from Australia to eastern Antarctica.”

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