On Tuesday, March 24, temperatures in Antarctica were higher than in New York City, Chicago, London, Melbourne, and other cities around the world. Adding to the signs of a planet getting warmer, Antarctica would experience its hottest day in history – at least since temperatures started being recorded.

At 63.5 F, the balmy temperature would break the continent’s previous record, set only one day earlier. Though the weather once again dropped to sub-zero temperatures, it is troubling to have such warm weather in the Arctic. This is especially true considering the temperature has risen by more than 5 degrees in Antarctica over the past 50 years.

The record-breaking temperature would be read at the Argentine research station, Esperanza Base, which lies in the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula. This ominous weather report comes on the heels of recent studies showing Antarctica’s ice is melting at rates faster than anyone originally thought.

The Arctic does not typically come to mind when thinking of record-setting warmth; however, the region is actually rising in temperatures at a rate of twice as much as anywhere else on the planet. The consequences of a melting Arctic may be felt by coastal borders around the world, as sea levels continue to rise and weather continues to be anything but predictable. 

Scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have been working for several years to create and refine a satellite map of long-term temperature change in Antarctica. This image illustrates long-term changes in yearly surface temperature in and around Antarctica between 1981 and 2007.  Places where it warmed over time are red, places where it cooled are blue, and places where there was no change are white.

Header: “It was like cloud-gazing, but up close,” Gong says of the Antarctic icebergs. Photo by Abe Gong.

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