Currently it is winter in Antarctica. According to news I read, Antarctica has set a new record high temperature, above 18 °C. How did this temperature records occur?

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    $\begingroup$ What news? What publication/media? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 3, 2021 at 7:00
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterMortensen I agree it should be linked in the question, but luckily it's now in Jean-Marie Prival's answer. The original news was from 2020, here's a photo. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 1:23
  • $\begingroup$ Hint: Read it again half a year from now ;) $\endgroup$
    – JollyJoker
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 16:31

2 Answers 2


You just read the news too fast. WMO announced that, after evaluation by a committee, they have validated the 18.3°C temperature recorded in February (i.e., in summer) last year:

GENEVA, 1 July 2021 (WMO) - The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has recognized a new record high temperature for the Antarctic continent of 18.3° Celsius on 6 February 2020 at the Esperanza station (Argentina).

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    $\begingroup$ I initially read WMO as WHO, and was very confused as to why WHO were measuring Antarctic temperatures! $\endgroup$
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 19:18
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    $\begingroup$ antartica has a fever - WHO intervenes? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 22:05
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    $\begingroup$ @C.M. “Winter: the coldest season of the year…” - sounds pretty thermal to me! $\endgroup$
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 3, 2021 at 18:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Tim: That does not mean every day has to be more cold than any day during 'summer'. We can, and do, have days in winter that are warmer than some days in summer, and vice versa. The assumption that 'winter' must be colder (than 'summer', for instance) is the error in logic that I am pointing out. $\endgroup$
    – C. M.
    Commented Jul 3, 2021 at 19:04
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    $\begingroup$ @eps: Correct. Seasons are the result of various factors: orbit and location within the orbit, axial tilt and rotation, etc. But as I said in my other comment, that was not my point. The point is that the assumptions made creates ambiguity, logical fallacies, and other issues. There is also missing information. "Record high" could mean "Record high for normal temperatures", and even further by "for this season" or "for the date given". I am not suggesting/debating/whatever that 18C would not be "bad mojo" in the fully assumed context, only that the context IS "assumed". $\endgroup$
    – C. M.
    Commented Jul 3, 2021 at 19:13

Supplemental to Jean-Marie Prival's answer:

The February 2020 event was already discussed here in a question posted the same day this went public: What is the second thermometer in the image from the Esperanza Antarctic temperature record?

twitter.com wmo.int bloomberg.com nytimes.com theguardian.com

The tweet contained an image of a literal analogue thermometer which did show the 18.3°C... but curiously enough, also another thermometer showing merely 10.0°C.

The image tweeted by SMN Argentina

The answer to that question is that this pair forms a wet-dry bulb system for measuring humidity.


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