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WMO Region VII (Antarctica mainland & adjoining islands): Highest Temperature

WMO Region VII (Antarctica mainland & adjoining islands): Highest Temperature

Record Value 17.5°C (53.5°F)
Date of Record 24/ 3 (March) /2015
Length of Record 1953-present
Instrumentation Maximum and minimum thermometers in Stevenson Screen
Geospatial Location Esperanza Research Station (Argentina) [63°24'S, 56°59'W, elevation: 13m (42.7ft)]

References

Evaluating Highest Temperature Extremes for the Antarctic Region. Maria de Los Milagros Skansi, John King, Matthew A. Lazzara, Randall S. Cerveny, Jose Luis Stella, Susan Solomon, Phil Jones, David Bromwich, James Renwick, Christopher C. Burt, Thomas C. Peterson, Manola Brunet, Fatima Driouech, Russell Vose, and Daniel Krahenbuhl. EOS Earth & Space Science News (American Geophysical Union), Vol 98, https://doi.org/10.1029/2017EO068325.

Discussion

The synoptic situation for the event associated with the temperature extreme shows a Northwest-southeast – aligned 500 hPa ridge stretching from South America to the Antarctic Peninsula, in correspondence with a 500 hPa height trough extending from the Antarctic at around 120°W. Together, these features drive a strong northwesterly geostrophic flow which (i) is associated with warm advection and (ii) drives strong winds perpendicular to the mountain chain in the northern part of the Peninsula, conducive to the development of föhn at Esperanza. For full details see the EOS publication.

Second-Highest Temperature: On 23 March 2015 an automatic weather station established by the Czech Republic on Davies Dome in the northern part of Ulu Peninsula, James Ross Island recorded a temperature of 17.9°C (64.2°F). That 2015 Davies Dome observation was recorded a day before the current WMO accepted record of 17.5°C (63.5°F) was observed at Esperanza Base (Argentina) in the same general location in the Antarctic Region. Consequently, a panel of polar meteorology experts from the Czech Republic, Argentina, Spain, Morocco, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States carefully examined the data involved with the Davies Dome observation to determine if its observation would be the new accepted record for continental highest temperature of the Antarctic Region.

After an extensive assessment, it was the unanimous recommendation of the WMO committee that the Davies Dome observation be adjusted down to 17.0°C ± 0.2°C (62.6°F ± 0.4°F) and that the Davies Dome observation be accepted as the « second highest » temperature recorded in the Antarctic Region (continent only). This recommendation follows a detailed discussion by the committee of the probability that the station experienced solar radiation bias on the temperature-recording instrument at the time of the record observation. In simple terms, the committee suggested that the temperature sensor at Davies Dome was heated to around 0.9°C (1.6°F) above the true air temperature by a combination of high solar radiation (coming both directly from the sun and also reflected from the underlying ice surface) and low wind speed. The precise downward adjustment of 0.9°C (1.6°F) follows an evaluation of a secondary analysis of equipment and data at another Antarctic location (Johann Gregor Mendel Station), coupled with results from past published research (e.g., Genthon et al. 2011, J. Atmos. Ocean. Tech., 28(12), 1598-1605).

Consequently, the WMO Commission for Climatology’s Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes retains the highest temperature for the « Antarctic continent » (defined as the main continental landmass and adjoining islands) as the temperature extreme of 17.5°C (63.5°F) recorded on 24 March 2015 at the Argentine Research Base Esperanza located near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Davies Dome observation of 17.0°C (62.6°F) becomes the second-highest officially-recognized temperature for the « Antarctic continent ».

WMO Region VII

WMO Region VII (Antarctica)