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Dear Tom,

What is the warmest temperature ever recorded on Antarctica?

Phil Schwimmer  

Dear Phil,

Early last year, on February 6, 2020, the highest reading ever recorded for Antarctica was reached when the mercury peaked at a balmy 64.9 degrees at the Argentine Esperanza Base on the northern tip of the continent’s Trinity Peninsula. That reading occurred during a week-long warm early-February spell. In contrast, that continent’s and the world’s lowest reading was recorded in central Antarctica, a low of minus 128.9 degrees, at the Soviet Vostok Station on July 21, 1983. Colder readings have been measured in Antarctica (such as -136 degrees at a ridge near Dome Argus), but are not officially recognized as the world’s lowest because they have been measured by satellite sensors at the ice surface, and not in an official instrument shelter.