The year 2020 is the hottest in the Antarctic Peninsula in the past three decades, a study by the University of Santiago de Chile out Friday found.
Between January and August, temperatures reached between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius (35.6 and 37.4 degrees Fahrenheit) on the peninsula, which is the northernmost part of mainland Antarctica, according to researchers at the Chilean Air Force’s Frei Base on King George Island.
Those temperatures are “more than 2 degrees Celsius over typical values,” climatologist Raul Cordero said in a statement released by the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH).
“In the far northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, the average maximum temperature so far this year has been above 0 degrees. This had not happened for 31 years,” Cordero added.
He called that fact “alarming,” since it could indicate that the rapid rate of ocean warming observed in the area at the end of the 20th century is resuming.
The high Southern Hemisphere winter temperatures are in contrast, however, with those registered between August and September, which reached -16.8 degrees Celsius, the lowest since 1970.
The Antarctic Peninsula is the northernmost part of Antarctica, where there are scientific and military bases from several countries, including Argentina, Chile and Britain.