Antarctic winter 2021 was among the coldest on record

A new report shows Antarctica experienced one of its coldest winters on record in 2021.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center said the continent’s temperatures in June, July and August were 6.1 degrees lower than the 1981-2010 average at -81.2 degrees.

Scientists said it was the second coldest winter after 2004 in the 60-year weather record at Amundsen-Scott station at the South Pole.

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During the period of polar darkness, from April to September, the average temperature was -77.6 degrees, the coldest on record.

The researchers attributed the extremely cold temperatures to “two extended periods of stronger-than-average circling winds around the continent, which tend to isolate the ice sheet from warmer conditions.” They also noted a strong polar vortex in the upper atmosphere which led to a large hole in the ozone layer.

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The news is quite the opposite of February 2020, when the continent saw its hottest temperatures on record when the temperature in northern Antarctica hit nearly 65 degrees.

Climate change is warming Antarctica and the Arctic – the polar regions of the Earth – faster than other regions of the planet.

The Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the globe, according to an annual report released in December by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. There is no similar annual report for Antarctica.

RELATED: Iceberg larger than Manhattan breaks out of Antarctica, dubbed the world’s largest

In May, the world’s largest iceberg formed after breaking away from Antarctica, according to the European Space Agency. The giant piece of ice is shaped like an ironing board and is about 105 miles long and 15 miles wide – to put that in perspective, Manhattan Island is only 22 miles long and 3 miles wide. .

President Joe Biden has repeatedly called for action to tackle climate change. Biden and Democrats pursue a sweeping $ 3.5 trillion federal overhaul that includes landmark measures to tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in what would be the most significant environmental policies ever adopted, after years of bursts.

The Democratic plan will make historic investments in clean energy, climate resilience and environmental justice, she said. “We have to get it right.”

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The massive legislation includes a national clean electricity program that aims to eliminate climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions from U.S. power plants by 2035, catching up with requirements already set in some states.

The proposal would spend billions to install 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations and upgrade the electricity grid to make it more resilient to hurricanes and other extreme weather events that are increasing and intensifying due to climate change.

Overall, the Biden package aims to provide more than $ 600 billion to tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, funded largely by taxes on corporations, the wealthy and others. other charges, in line with Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes for anyone earning less than $ 400,000 a year.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported from Los Angeles.

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