The Antarctic region just recorded a temperature higher than 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time.
Brazilian researchers venture out to the remote Seymour Island every few days to take a temperature reading. But this reading floored them.
“We are seeing the warming trend in many of the sites we are monitoring, but we have never seen anything like this,” Carlos Schaefer, a Brazilian government scientist who studies the Antarctic, told The Guardian, which first reported on the scientists’ findings.
It’s been a balmy summer in the Antarctic so far. Just last Thursday, Argentinian scientists recorded the hottest temperature ever on continental Antarctica: It was 65 degrees Fahrenheit at an Argentinian research station on the Antarctic Peninsula.
The Brazilian researchers told the Guardian that temperatures at the station have been erratic: It cooled there during the first decade of the century, and is now getting dramatically hotter. That’s likely due to ocean currents shifting as the seas warm.
Though temperatures in much of Antarctica haven’t risen much, in west Antarctica it’s getting hotter, fast. That’s raised concerns about the melting of the enormous Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers, which, should they melt, could raise sea levels by an estimated four feet, according to NASA. On the Antarctic Peninsula, which points toward the tip of South America from the west side of the continent, it’s gotten more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit hotter in the last 50 years.