Record High Temperature for Antarctica; Record Low Maximum Arctic Ice Extent

The continent of Antarctica set a record high temperature last week when a high of 63.5° F was recorded at Argentina's Esperanza Base on the northern extreme of the Antarctic Peninsula.

According to Jeff Masters and Bob Henson at Wunderground, this broke the previous record high for the continent set just the day before. Prior to last week's 'heat wave', the warmest temperature on record for Antarctica was 62.8° F set on April 24, 1961.

Here's a look at the GFS temperature anomaly forecast for March 24, 2015, the day the record was set. The deeper reds indicate temperatures forecast to be >20 degrees above normal for the date.

Esperanza temperature anomaly forecast | Weather5280 Models

Antarctic sea ice well above normal
Despite these record warm temperatures, the Antarctic sea ice remains above average for this time of the year, inline with the above normal sea ice extents seen in 2013-14.


Record Low Arctic Ice Extent
Meanwhile in the Arctic it looks like another year of well below normal sea ice extents. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, in February, 2015 the Arctic sea ice extent reached the lowest maximum extent on record.

While a late season surge is possible, it's likely that the extent reached on February 25th will be the greatest extent of the season, according to an article published by NSIDC on March 19th.


Since 2010, only one year (2011-2012) reached average extent, late in the season 2012. This year, the Arctic ice extent is running more than 2 standard deviations below normal:


Brendan Heberton

Brendan is founder of Weather5280. He is co-founder of FreshyMap, and develops software for geospatial data analysis and visualization.

Denver, Colorado
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