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CO2 Budget Depletion

08 Aug 2023

New Antarctic extremes ‘virtually certain’ as world warms

A newly published study calls for urgent action as increasing extreme events in Antarctica have catastrophic global effects.  

In their new paper, the authors reviewed evidence of extreme events in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, such as ocean heatwaves and ice loss. In March 2022, Antarctica saw the world’s largest recorded heatwave: 38.5℃ above the average. At present, winter sea ice formation is the lowest on record. Due to ongoing global warming, these extremes will almost certainly become more and more severe. 

According to the study, “it is well documented how extreme Antarctic weather leads to catastrophic events worldwide: flooding, heatwaves, wildfires, drought and water/flood shortages and episodes of intense cooling.” Prof. Siegert commented: “There’s a real danger, I think, in the years coming ahead that Antarctica starts to behave in a way that looks a lot more like the Arctic… that it stops acting as a refrigerant for the planet, and it starts acting as a radiator.” 

“Reducing greenhouse gas emission is our best hope of preserving Antarctica, and this must matter to every country – and individual – on the planet” – Prof. Siegert warns. Nations must understand that by continuing to explore, extract and burn fossil fuels anywhere in the world, the environment of Antarctica will become ever more affected in ways inconsistent with their pledge.” 


Image source: Prof. Martin Siegert



The following gauges show up-to-date data regarding key indicators in the Arctic. These indicators clearly point to the crisis at hand.

Greenland rate of ice loss
13 million l/s
on average
13 million tonnes/s
on average
Arctic Sea Ice Extent
745,499 km²
below 1981-2010 average on 25-Feb-2024
287,837 mi²
below 1981-2010 average on 25-Feb-2024
Arctic Amplification
4 times
faster than global average
Arctic 66N+ Wildfire emissions
0.00 megatonnes CO₂e
CO₂e emissions in 2024 so far
Arctic Air Quality (PM2.5)
1.38 microgram per cubic meter
on 26-Feb-2024
Global mean Sea Level
since 1993