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Alaska could feel impact of record-breaking temperatures measured in Antarctica

Antarctica's ice is melting 6 times faster than in the 1980s / Photo: Pixabay / (MGN)
Antarctica's ice is melting 6 times faster than in the 1980s / Photo: Pixabay / (MGN)
Published: Feb. 10, 2020 at 9:46 PM AKST
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Antarctica experienced its warmest recorded temperature ever, and a local climate researcher said it's something Alaskans should be concerned about the event.

"The reason it occurred there, is they had the equivalent of a Chinook Wind," said Brian Brettschneider, a climate researcher with University of Alaska Fairbanks' International Arctic Research Center. "And we get those, and we get warmed up. But as the climate warms, those Chinook Winds will warm too. We see the same thing here."

A temperature of 65 degrees was taken in the Antarctic Peninsula. Brettschneider said the region has seen a steady warming, although the Alaska glacier region has experienced the fastest ice loss.

"But Antarctica has a much larger impact on the world," Brettschneider said. "So as we start to melt off Antarctic ice, it really affects the global circulation patterns. So what happens in Antarctica really matters to what happens in Alaska."

Ice shelves live on the Antarctic Peninsula that hold back glaciers. Brettschneider said if it warms and those shelves melt, it could mean a big enough impact to affect the world.

"Once we thaw that out, it can really be a runaway train where these glaciers can now run out free into the ocean and lose a lot of the ice from the continental shelf," he said.

And while Alaska is dealing with one of its coldest winters, the other side of the world is heating up.

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