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‘Virtually certain’ extreme Antarctic events will get worse without drastic action,

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It is “virtually certain” that future extreme events in Antarctica will be worse than the extraordinary changes already observed, according to a new scientific warning that stresses the case for immediate and drastic action to limit global heating.

A new review draws together evidence on the vulnerability of Antarctic systems, highlighting recent extremes such as record low sea ice levels, the collapse of ice shelves, and surface temperatures up to 38.5C above average over East Antarctica in 2022 – the world’s largest ever recorded heatwave.

Records for Antarctic sea ice, which varies every year between a February minimum and a September maximum, “have been tumbling in recent years”, said study co-author Dr Caroline Holmes, a polar climate scientist at the British Antarctic Survey.

“One clear metric of how things are changing is that the summer minimum has broken a new record three times in the past seven years,” she said at a press briefing.

Sea ice extent in July 2022 hit a record low for that time of year, but was surpassed by a new record this July – one that…

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