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Reaction to record temperatures at both geographical poles

The weekend saw record temperatures in both the Arctic and Antarctica, up to 40°C above normal for this time of year.

24/03/2022 - 19:00 CET
Hielo antártico.

Thermal anomalies at both poles put the scientific community on alert / Pixabay.

Expert reactions

Carlos Duarte - récord polos

Carlos M. Duarte

Executive Director of the Global Coral Reef R&D Acceleration Platform and holder of the Tarek Ahmed Juffali Research Chair in Red Sea Ecology at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia

Science Media Centre Spain

Thermal anomalies at the poles are a clear sign of disruptions in the climate system due to fossil fuel emissions.  The recent event raises the concern to alarm level, as thermal anomalies have so far been recorded in the Arctic, but not in Antarctica, and never at both poles at the same time.  

The consequence of destabilising the climate in the polar areas could be a domino effect of global changes leading to abrupt climate change, as these areas play a critical role in regulating the global climate system, as well as sea level. Our climate models do not have the capacity to anticipate points of no return that could trigger a domino effect of global change, but these signals clearly warn of the proximity of such tipping points in the climate system.

This is not good news, particularly in a context where the energy transition is also threatened by the war in Eastern Europe.

The author has not responded to our request to declare conflicts of interest