Extreme weather events are becoming more common these days. Just last Tuesday, March 24, Antarctica was recorded as having its highest temperature ever at 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The previous record was for the day earlier, however, March 23, at 63.3 degrees Fahrenheit.
The temperatures were recorded at the Esperanza and Marambio Bases in Argentina, respectively. Prior to last week's record temperature spike, the hottest that Antarctica has ever been was in 1961 when 62.8 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded at the Esperanza Base. The World Meteorological Organization has yet to announce the temperatures as official records but the Argentinian weather service has confirmed that temperature readings for March 23 and 24 were the hottest ever recorded for each of the sites.
In 2015, so far five territories or nations have set or tied all-time records for hottest temperatures. In 2014, only two achieved this feat while nine did in 2013. The most number of all-time records for high temperatures occurred though in 2010 at 21. Since then, 46 out of 235 territories or nations have set or tied their all-time heat records, based on records kept by top climatologist Maximiliano Herrera.
For March, Antarctica wasn't the only one setting records for high temperature. Equatorial Guinea also set a new national record for high temperature at 95.9 degrees Fahrenheit on March 7. Its previous record was 95.5 degrees Fahrenheit in 1957.
The WMO released a statement confirming 2104 as the hottest year on record, highlighting other defining characteristics of the year like high surface temperatures on land and record heat in the ocean complemented by devastating flooding.
"Multiple lines of evidence ... show that the climate is changing and that this is largely due to human activities, as pointed out by the latest report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," said Michel Jarraud, secretary-general for the WMO, adding that the extreme weather events witnessed in 2014 are in line with what is to be expected from a warming climate caused by higher atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases.
The WMO statement goes on to explain that the one of the biggest contributors to variability in the climate is the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, an event usually associated with rising temperatures around the world. It should be noted though that despite not being classified as an El Niño year, 2014 still managed to be exceptionally warm.
Photo: David Stanley | Flickr