Photos show ice melting in Antarctica as it records its highest temperature ever

Mario Tama / Getty Images and Reuters / Ueslei MarcelinoIce along the Antarctic Peninsula in 2017 (left) and 2020 (right).

Antarctica has recorded its highest temperature ever, according to Reuters.

Temperatures reached about 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius) at Esperanza Base, in Hope Bay at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, on February 6. The new high temperature breaks the previous record of 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit (17.5 degrees Celsius), set in 2015.

Antarctica melting record high temperature 2Reuters / Ueslei MarcelinoA melting iceberg seen near Fournier Bay, Antarctica on February 3.

The temperature record comes as there are increasing concerns about ice melt on the continent, according to Reuters.

“We hear a lot about the Arctic, but this particular part of the Antarctic peninsula is warming very quickly,” World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) spokesperson Clare Nullis said on Friday in Geneva.

“The amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic ice sheet increased at least six-fold between 1979 and 2017,” Nullis said.

“The melting from these glaciers, you know, means we are in big trouble when it comes to sea level rise.”

Sea levels would rise by about 240 feet (73 meters) if all the glaciers in Antarctica melted, according to Time.

Antarctic ice 2017Mario Tama / Getty ImagesIce along the Antarctic Peninsula in 2017.

This amount would leave coastal cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Sydney, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mumbai, and Amsterdam underwater.

Antarctica ice melt 2019Pierre Suu / Getty ImagesIce cover on King George Island, off the Antarctic Peninsula, in 2019.

As Antarctica warms, tourism on the continent has reached record levels. About 56,000 people travelled to Antarctica during the 2018-2019 season, a 53% increase over the number of tourists in 2014-2015, according to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators.

Reuters / Ueslei MarcelinoExposed rock is visible in Orne Harbour, near the Antarctic Peninsula, on February 6.

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