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Temperature recorded at Antarctica with highest warmth ratio

Shivering of Melbourne proved that the temperature at Antarctica is rising rapidly and reached at the record level in recent past.

The Melbourne’s meager maximum of 15.3 degrees on this Tuesday was in real more than 2 degrees cooler than Esperanza Base, a Argentine research station at northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.

The Victorian capital may be famous for its temperature swings – often within a day – but the 17.5 degree reading at Esperanza was outlandish even by Melburnian standards. That maximum is likely to be the highest ever recorded on the Antarctic continent, according to the Weather Underground blog.

Tuesday’s high at Esperanza – which translates to “hope” in English – beat its previous record, set in 1976, by half a degree, according to the blog post’s author Christopher Burt. The new maximum was also about 17 degrees above the March average for the site, he said.

Climate specialists say strong north-westerly winds may have contributed to the unusual warmth over the Antarctic Peninsula, creating a so-called Fohn wind effect. Esperanza is on the leeward side of the peninsula, and temperatures are being nudged higher as dry winds descend after losing their moisture through rain or snow on the mountains.

The Reports of the record warmth in Antarctica come as a study published on Thursday in the journal Science found the region’s massive floating ice shelves are shrinking as the globe warms up.

A study, covering satellite observations of more than 1 million square kilometres from 1994-2012 found some shelves have shrunk 18 per cent in that time.

During the first half of that period, the overall decline of ice volume around Antarctica was small, with West Antarctica losses almost balanced out by gains in East Antarctica, Reuters reported. After that, western losses accelerated and gains in the east ended.

– “There has been more and more ice being lost from Antarctica’s floating ice shelves,” Helen Fricker, a glaciologist of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California said.

While Antarctic sea ice extent remains at or near record levels, the extra ice is less than a third of the loss of Arctic ice cover, climatologists say. The Arctic sea-ice extent is likely to report a record low this year in another sign of global warming, US agencies said this month.

While records may be melting at the Earth’s polar extremes, the same was not true for Melbourne this week.

The chilliest March day on record was back in 1940, when the mercury made it to just 12 degrees, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

And if it’s any consolation, Melbourne’s top on Friday of about 18 degrees is positively tropical compared with Esperanza’s temperature of about 1 degree, closer to a typical March day for the region.

About Robert Nicholls

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