Despite a warm planet, Antarctica dips to -72.8C, Greenland -58.9C

Written by on March 30, 2019 in Rest of World with 0 Comments

While large swathes of the planet are warmer than normal this March, there are some exceptions. One of those exceptions being Antarctica and Greenland where it’s been colder than normal. Helped by a +AAO (Antarctic Oscillation) in the south and +AO/NAO in the north, the coldest air in both hemisphere’s have been allowed to bottle up but this results in a lot of warmth in between.

Here’s the 2 metre temperature anomaly for March 2019 so far and note the cold over particularly Antarctica and Greenland.

Credit: Michael Ventrice

Unlike the relatively thin and moving ice sheet of the Arctic, Antarctica is vast and rises to great heights away from the Southern Ocean. It’s lofty mountain ranges, vast plateaus of blinding white and desert dryness mean nowhere on earth can match the level of cold on this frozen continent. Even the heart of Siberia cannot compare.

Recent nights have been particularly nippy across the Antarctic interior with air temperatures dipping below -70C. Unusual, not really but remember winter has yet to come proper. Vostok a couple of nights ago dipped to -72.8C or -99F. You only really see wind chills at this level to the north of the equator.

The -72.8C was indeed coldest for March in 6 years when the same site dipped to -74.9C.

Vostok holds the world cold record.

Meanwhile, another of the planet’s cold spots this March has been Greenland. Similar to Antarctica, Greenland is a vast land mass/ice cap but boosts similar cold qualities as Antarctica and recent days has been very cold indeed.

As you can see from the above global temperature anomaly for March, Greenland has been cold overall, but like Antarctica, recent nights have been coldest where the famed interior cold spot of Summit Station has recently hit -58.9C. Close but not quite matching the March record of -61.2C set in 2007.


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