Antarctic cold 2023 Anomaly: Record Cold Despite Global Warming

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A study in 2023 found that Antarctica experienced extremely cold weather, which is surprising considering how hot the rest of the world is getting. This shows how complex the climate can be.

Antarctic cold 2023

Antarctic sea ice in 2023 | Official blog of the Met Office news team

2023 was the warmest year on record worldwide, however Antarctica experienced multiple extremely cold interval in Antarctic cold 2023.
Advances in Atmospheric Sciences published a research on these cold snaps in July and August.

Scientists studied these cold months in great detail and found that a great area of Antarctica experienced consistently low temperature

Kunlun Station recorded its lowest temperature ever at -79.4°C, which is 5°C lower than the monthly average, said Prof. Minghu Ding from the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences.Simultaneously, South America experienced unprecedentedly high temperatures, with Rio de Janeiro shattering a 117-year-old heat record and Chile nearly reaching 40°C (104°F).

Researchers found evidence of four separate cold episodes in 2023, which occurred between mid-July and late-August. They found significant negative anomalies in the 500-hPa geopotential height in August 2023, which were most likely brought on by mid-troposphere air conditions. These cold spells were caused by calm weather and southerly winds from the continent.

When temperatures dropped below -50°C, it was too risky for aircraft to fly to important research stations due to concerns about hydraulic failure and fuel gelling.

The study, which was done by experts from all across the world, highlights how important it is to understand the climatic elements that lead to exceptionally low temperatures. Their findings are critical to improving the security and efficacy of activities in the Antarctic.

Primary data for this study came from the State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather and the AWS programs of the UW Madison Antarctic Meteorological Research and Data Center (AMRDC).

Authors: Anastasia J. Tomanek, David E. Mikolajczyk, Matthew A. Bromwich, Taylor P. Norton, Linda M. Keller, and Lee J. Welhouse. “Extreme Antarctic Cold of Late Winter 2023” was published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences on June 13, 2024.

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Michael Jock

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