It’s time to wake up: Antarctica just hit 20 degrees Celsius

Record-breaking temperatures could potentially raise sea levels by 230 feet
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It’s time to wake up: Antarctica just hit 20 degrees Celsius
There is no planet B

When you think of Antarctica, freezing temperatures, untouched land and fluffy penguins fishing and generally having a great time often come to mind. In reality, the ocean is full of plastic waste, the penguins are starving and temperatures are reaching record highs: 20.75 degrees Celsius to be exact. FYI, that’s warmer than Dubai this weekend.

Unfortunately, since 2015 the temperature record has been broken three times (two of those times being in the last week), and the average temperature of the now fastest-warming region on Earth has risen by 4 degrees over the last 50 years, while 87 per cent of Antarctica's glaciers have retreated. Antarctica’s unique ecosystem means it’s more sensitive than other areas and therefore can act as a warning system for the rest of the planet. In short: when Antarctica shows signs of trouble, something truly terrible is on the horizon.

If it continues, the consequences will be disastrous – high temperatures means more breakage, which not only diminishes the coastline but causes the sea level to rise due to glaciers weighing over a billion tonnes collapsing into the sea. The figures are truly frightening: if all the land ice melted, the sea level would rise by a whopping 230 feet. Perhaps those ridiculous disaster movies aren’t as farfetched as we thought. The temperature increase is also affecting precious wildlife. Krill, a primary food source for penguins, seals and whales, are relocating to cooler waters outside of reach, meaning animals are left without a reliable option.

These glaciers and ice sheets have covered Antarctica for over a million years and we’ve managed to destroy them in the short time we’ve inhabited the planet. While we can’t reverse the damage we’ve done, it’s time to take action to ensure we don’t let it get any worse - unless you want to end up underwater.

Photos: Unplash, twitter and Instagram