A weather research station on Seymour Island in the Antarctic Peninsula registered a temperature of 69.3 degrees (20.75 Celsius) on Feb. 9, according to Márcio Rocha Francelino, a professor at the Federal University of Vicosa in Brazil. The nearly 70-degree temperature is significantly higher than the 65-degree reading taken Feb. 6 at the Esperanza Base along Antarctica’s Trinity Peninsula. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is reviewing that reading to see whether it qualifies as the continent’s hottest temperature on record.
The new data, which was reviewed by The Washington Post, came from a research station that has been in place for 12 years, used mainly for monitoring the layer of permanently frozen soil known as permafrost. Francelino said the temperature sensor is located in a flat and open area, without obstacles.
Randall Cerveny, a meteorologist at Arizona State University who verifies extremes for the WMO, previously called the Esperanza reading a “likely record.” On Thursday, he said the organization is looking into the new report, too, but urged caution about the higher reading.