The Casey Research Station reached a high temperature of 48.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

By Cailey Rizzo
April 01, 2020
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Credit: Andrew Peacock/Getty Images

Climate scientists reported the first-ever recorded heatwave at a research base in East Antarctica earlier this year.

From Jan. 23 to Jan. 26, the Casey Research Station on the northern part of Antarctica’s Bailey Peninsula recorded a record high temperature of 48.6 degrees Fahrenheit according to a report published in the Global Change Biology journal. on Tuesday.

The stat meets the requirement of a heatwave as researchers explained that the temperature needs to last for three consecutive days.

This isn't the first climate-related milestone the continent has met recently as Antarctica's summer — which is from October to February — saw record-breaking heat all over.

In early February, researchers recorded a record amount of ice loss during a record-breaking heatwave on Antarctica’s Eagle Island. About 20 percent of the season’s snowfall was lost in just a few days when the continent experienced its highest ever recorded temperatures (almost 70 degrees Fahrenheit).

“Although it is too early for full reports, this warm summer will have impacted Antarctic biology in numerous ways, probably leading to long‐term disruptions at ecosystem, community and population scales,” the report in Global Change Biology said.

The above-zero temperatures that contribute to Antarctic melting could likely lead to flooding and more mosses, lichens, microbes and invertebrates. According to Antarctic ecologist Dr. Dana Bergstrom, cited in the journal, too much flooding can dislodge plants and alter the species that are already there.

"If the ice melts completely, early in the season, then ecosystems will suffer drought for the rest of the season," Bergstrom warned, adding that the unexpected warm summer could have longl last effects on a broader ecosystem.

Ecologists also attribute Antarctica’s increasing heat to gas pollution from humans.

And the impact is quite likely to extend beyond the continent itself. If Antarctica’s ice melts, it could have devastating consequences for people living in coastal environments around the world as ocean levels rise.