3 bad news stories for Antarctica

Over 20°C in Antarctica. This is not an alarming prediction for the coming decades. It's happening right now. And it's not the only worrying news stories for Antarctica this month.

Meanwhile in Antarctica…

Extreme heat

18.4°C. This temperature was recorded in northern Antarctica on February 6, 2020. It's the highest temperature ever recorded at Esperanza Base, an Argentinian research station. That same day, at Marambio Base, located 100 km further south, the thermometer read 15.8°C, a record for the month of February. On February 9, Brazilian scientists recorded a temperature of 20.75°C on the same island as Marambio Base. It was the same temperature as in Seville, Spain, on that same day. These different readings must be checked by the World Meteorological Organization to confirm that they are indeed records for Antarctica.

Penguins in decline

On Elephant Island, chinstrap penguins are experiencing a drastic decline. Some colonies have lost up to 77% of their breeding pairs in 50 years. In 1971, there were over 122,000 pairs of chinstrap penguins throughout the island. Today, less than 53,000 remain. This scientist, who participated in the inventory, suspects two factors may be disrupting the food chain: climate change and the overfishing of krill around the island.

A breaking glacier

A 300 km2 iceberg broke off Pine Island Glacier, which is almost the size of Malta. Over the last 25 years, the glacier has lost a lot of ice. In 2019, satellite images were able to spot two large rifts forming. A huge part of the glacier finally broke off, resulting in numerous icebergs. In total, the Antarctic ice cap has lost at least 6 times more ice in 2017 than it did 1979.