Scientists have recorded the first heatwave in history in Antarctica. This will lead to the release of a huge amount of water and carbon, which will occur as a result of melting ice and permafrost. This is stated in a study by scientists from the Case Research Center in East Antarctica, published in the journal Global Change Biology.
In late January – early February 2020, Antarctica warmed up to a record high temperature of 18.3°C – almost half a degree higher than the previous record recorded in 2015 (17.5°C). The first heatwave on the continent was a separate event of this heating, and it well demonstrates how the trend of global warming affects the local climate and landscape, scientists write.
The first heatwave in the region’s history was recorded on January 23 and lasted until January 26.
“For an event to be considered a wave of heat, it must last at least three days in a row. During this time, extremely high temperatures for the region should be recorded. This happened at the end of January – for three days we recorded strong temperature fluctuations, during which the air warmed up to 6.9°C at maximum, and at a minimum temperature dropped 0.2°C below normal”.
Sharon Robinson, lead author of the study
According to researchers, the summer of 2020 will have long-term consequences for Antarctica. Higher temperatures can cause heat stress on some organisms: in particular, it will lead to accelerated growth and reproduction of mosses, lichens, microbes, and invertebrates.