Antarctica reaches highest temperature on record

An Argentinian research station in the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula has reported readings of 18.3°C, beating the region’s previous record by 0.8°C.

An image of Antarctica
An image of Antarctica
Imogen Benson

An Argentinian research station has reported readings of 18.3°C – Antarctica’s hottest temperatures on record. 

Reported last Thursday (6 February) at Esperanza, in the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, the temperature was 0.8°C higher than Antarctica’s previous record, which was set in March 2015.

As the climate crisis escalates, Antarctica is suffering the worst of its impacts –  the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has confirmed that the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming areas in the world, with temperatures rising by almost 3°C over the last 50 years and annual ice loss increasing at least six-fold between 1979 and 2017. 

Commenting on the news, Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of the Green Party, said: “Yet more proof of the emergency we are living in. The climate and ecological disaster is a reality all across our planet.”

With the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warning that the world has just 12 years to limit global temperature rises to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, failure to curb such rapid temperature rises could lead to uncontrollable climate chaos.

Seeking to address the growing threat of global heating, over half of UK councils have now declared climate emergencies, joining the worldwide movement to bring down carbon emissions, with many councils committing to achieving net-zero emissions by 2030 in line with the IPCC’s recommendations. 

Whilst the UK Government has set a 2050 target, the Green Party has demanded more urgent action to halt the catastrophic impacts of climate change, arguing that, as the hosts of next year’s COP26 climate talks – set to be held in Glasgow – the UK has an opportunity to take the lead in delivering transformative action.

Calling for a Green New Deal to overhaul the current economy and prioritise the environment, Womack explained: “We cannot simply stand idly by, waiting for the situation to improve. We need to take bold, radical steps now. Through our Green New Deal we offer a realistic plan to decarbonise our economy and deliver climate and social justice.”