Antarctica May Have Just Hit An All-Time Record High Temperature

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Antarctica May Have Just Hit An All-Time Record High Temperature
The verification process could take up to nine months.
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Antarctica may have just hit an all-time record high temperature of 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scientists at Argentina's Esperanza research station in Antarctica reported the record-breaking heat on Thursday. It's important to note: the record reflects the temperature at a single location, not the entire continent.

The record hasn't been confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization, but it would beat a 2015 high of 63.5 F. NPR reports the verification process could take up to nine months.

A WMO official said in a statement that the short-term cause of the heatwave is likely related to "a rapid warming of air coming down a slope/mountain." The WMO says the Antarctic Peninsula, where the record temperature was recorded, is one of the fastest-warming parts of the planet.

The heatwave comes after NASA and NOAA declared 2019 the second-hottest year on record. Scientists have concluded the trend is largely caused by human activity, with pollution putting increasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Correction: A previous version of this story said 2019 was the hottest year on record. It was the second-hottest year. This story has been updated.