A climatologist explained the heat wave at the poles: ‘As if in Buenos Aires we had temperatures above 50 degrees’

Meteorologists, climatologists and experts from around the world were alerted to the unusual phenomenon that occurred simultaneously on both ends of the planet, last weekend, Where temperatures have been recorded up to 40 degrees above average about At this time of year in Antarctica, and up to 30 degrees more in the Arctic.

La Nacion interviewed Albio Costa, a climate scientist and researcher at the Argentine Antarctic Institute in the National Antarctic Directorate, who has traveled to the “White Continent” on more than one occasion. The professional explained the scope of this phenomenon, the possibilities of its recurrence, and whether it is related to climate change.

“The event drew attention because it has two important bases, The French-Italian ship named Concordia and the Russian Vostok broke the historical temperature record, And both have several decades of accumulated data,” Costa began, detailing: Concordia recorded -12.2 degrees and Vostok, where the record for the coldest temperature on the planet was set in 1983, with -89.2 degrees, broke the record for the highest temperature, with -17.7 degrees. Both seem like very cold temperatures, but for those places, they are not. At the end of March, the average in that region was around -50 degrees. So, from this usual temperature I have approached -10 degrees, It’s as if we were talking about the fact that in Buenos Aires we have temperatures above 50 degrees“.

Antarctic bases that recorded high temperatures.

According to the climate scientist:It is also noteworthy in that it is not an isolated event, but an entire region, practically half of the Antarctic continent. Antarctica covers an area of ​​14 million square kilometers and about half of that area is affected by temperatures much higher than normal. In other words, this “warm anomaly” is striking for three reasons. On the other hand, the large extension of the affected area; The magnitude of the anomaly, since we are not talking about 10 or 20 degrees more (which is a lot), but we are talking about 40 degrees more than usual, and thirdly, persistence, because it lasted several days. ”

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“This stunned the scientific community and that” Klima 2020 Director Svein Tveitdal said.Rethinking Antarctic climate system predictions”Costa said, then analyzed:I disagree a little, although it’s something unusual, it’s still an isolated event. To be able to relate it to climate change, you have to see that the event is recurring or more recurring over time. It’s probably related, but it’s not as obvious as what happened at the North Pole. There, global warming has been three times greater than the global average in recent decades. This region is more affected by the temperate air in the mid-latitudes“.

The climate scientist added:Antarctica was, in general, more isolated. Leaving the Antarctic Peninsula aside, the rest will be more insulated from global warming. Even some areas of East Antarctica until 2017 It introduced a cooling trend, but it has not continued in recent years. What we don’t know yet is whether it’s a change of direction. That’s why I say that the Antarctic wave attracts more attention than the North Pole wave.”

Vostok base in Antarctica
Vostok base in Antarctica

As much as it is a large-scale event or is classified as an “extreme climate event”, it is still a meteorological event. which cannot be linked, a priori, to climate change, studies have to be done,” Costa added and concluded: “It may be due to advection, a flow of warmer or less cold air that has reached East Antarctica and, most likely, has caused this to happen.” Warm air ‘over the entire area’.

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