Climate: Record high temp recorded at South Pole

Antarctica from a NASA satellite.

Heat wave sends readings above zero

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A short-lived heat wave of sorts brought a record high temperature of 9.9 degrees to the South Pole on Christmas day, according to a report in the Antarctic Sun, the newspaper of the U.S. Antarctic Program.

The old record of 7.5 degrees was set Dec. 27, 1978. Several other stations nearby also climbed into the teens, breaking previous record highs that were in the single digits.

While that reading qualifies as chilly in most locations, it’s downright balmy for the South Pole, where the annual average temperature is about minus 69 degrees. For this time of year, average temps range around minus 15 degrees at the start of the southern hemisphere summer, when the sun shines 24 hours per day at the South Pole.

A little snow came along with with the warm temperatures on Christmas, which is also rare for the South Pole. Normally it’s too cold to snow, so any moisture in the air usually manifests as tiny ice crystals.

Antarctica’s all-time record low is minus 128.6 degrees, which is the coldest temperature recorded on Earth.

The warmest recorded temperature on the Antarctic mainland was 59 degrees at Vanda Station, a small research base in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, according to the Antarctic Sun.

More info and stats are online at


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