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We're seeing the strongest effects of climate change here in polar environments not only with the (unintelligible) of the ice but the organisms that live here along the coast... here in Antarctica, you see it with your own eyes. You know, we're seeing changes in whole ecologies, whole communities down here that probably wouldn't be unusual over millennia. But here, they're happening over a few decades. I really believe this is sort of the bellwether, if you will, of climate change environments on our planet. And we need to take heed of that. We're seeing changes at home. They're much more dramatic here, and they're going to get more dramatic where we live as well.

March 2017

Antarctica sees record warm temperatures

There’s no time like the present for an update on the weather in Antarctica. Be aware, however, that there’s a significant time delay involved. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the world’s southernmost continent has set a new mark for its warmest temperature on record at 63.5 degrees. The new record was measured at Argentina’s Esperanza research station on Antarctica’s northern tip way back on March 4, 2015, but it’s taken this long to verify the reading.

For the record, the warmest temperature in the Antarctic region remains 67.6 degrees, set on Signy Island in January 1982. Our planet’s coldest temperature on record also occurred on Antarctica, in 1983, an impressive 128.6 degrees below zero in July, the dead of winter on that continent.

Meanwhile, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reports that Antarctica’s sea ice extent, apparently mimicking the recent behavior of the Arctic’s ice, dropped to a record low of 2,106,000 square kilometers this month. It should be noted that satellite records of Antarctic ice only date back to 1979. Oddly, annual Antarctic ice minimums were at record highs as recently as 2013-15, but several atmospheric factors have since shifted.

Antarctica is an important regulator of the planet's climate, capable of influencing things as distant as the blooming of cherry trees in Japan or how clear the skies are over Chile's Atacama Desert, scientists say.

Edgardo Vega: "What happens in Antarctica will determine the climate in other regions very far from this remote continent."

...the frozen continent an important regulator of the world's climate is the melting of the ice covering there. "Simply put, we could say that when the fresh water of the glaciers melts - being less dense than saltwater - and comes into contact with the ocean currents it alters (the sea's) salinity, which influences the interaction between the ocean surface and the atmosphere," Bolivar Caceres, the head of the glacier program at Ecuador's National Weather Institute, said. "All the oceans are connected and so anything that happens on this continent can give rise to an intense drought or torrential rains in distant parts of the planet. It's like a butterfly effect."

In March 2015, Antarctica's temperature rose to 17.5 C, the highest on record.

World Meteorlogical Organization verifies highest temperatures for Antarctic Region

GENEVA, 1 March 2017 (WMO) - A World Meteorological Organization committee of experts has announced new records for the highest temperatures recorded in the Antarctic Region as part of continuing efforts to expand a database of extreme weather and climate conditions throughout the world.

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