The Arctic and the Antarctic were hit by heat waves this past week, causing snow and ice to melt at unprecedented rates in both poles, according to data gathered on March 19.
What to know:
Extreme heatwaves were reported at both of Earth’s poles on March 18, with one Antarctic weather station recording temperatures 70° F above average and parts of the Arctic reporting temperatures 50° F higher than they normally are.
The temperature recorded at the Concordia-Dome C research station on March 18 was the highest temperature ever recorded in a permanent weather station of the Antarctic Plateau in 66 operational years. The heat wave is caused by a powerful inflow of warm winds from Australia.
Arctic ice plays a crucial role in cooling the planet by reflecting sunlight, but melting ice is allowing the darker water or land beneath to absorb more of the sun’s heat, meaning the Arctic could be ice free in summer by the middle of the next decade.
Melting ice in the Antarctic is expected to contribute to a rise in global sea levels. The Antarctic summer sea ice is currently at the lowest level that’s ever been recorded.
The onset of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere normally coincides with falling temperatures across Antarctica, while early spring tends to bring about gentle increases in Arctic temperatures.
This is a summary of the article, “A Powerful Heatwave Is Affecting a Large Part of Antarctica With Unprecedented Warm Temperatures More Than 40 Degrees Above Average,” published by Severe Weather Europe on March 20, 2022. The full article can be found on severe-weather.eu.