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New Record High Temperature At South Pole 387

Posted by timothy
from the happy-christmas dept.
New submitter Titus Andronicus writes "The South Pole experienced its highest-ever recorded temperature of -12.3C (+9.9F) on December 25, 2011, according to preliminary reporting from the Antarctic Meteorological Research Center at the University of Wisconsin."
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New Record High Temperature At South Pole

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  • by MacDork (560499) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @11:35AM (#38526268) Journal
    Just like snow on Copenhagen is weather, not climate, right?
    • by emilper (826945)

      no, they should move the thermometers further away from the exhausts of the air conditioning units ...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by arth1 (260657)

        Air conditioning units are something you find in warm climates. Just sayin...

        Off-topic:
        Having grown up in Scandinavia without any air conditioners or even fans, and moving to the US as an adult, I have come to the conclusion that at least part of the reason why Americans are so loud is to be heard over the air conditioning. Many of them are so conditioned (npi) that they're unaware how loud those things are, even the "quiet" ones. When they get someplace quiet, they feel a strong urge to add sound, beca

        • I can say that, aside from the pleasure of moving air (not necessarily cool air), having a fan on my face was fairly integral to being able to sleep. I've since beat the habit, but still... not sure where it comes from as I did not grow up with air conditioning. *shrug*
        • by trout007 (975317)

          Why does is there such a hatred of air conditioning? I post like yours all the time. But nobody complains about heating. It's much more efficient to live in a warm area and have to cool the house 10 degrees than live in a cold area and warm it 60.

          • by arth1 (260657)

            Why does is there such a hatred of air conditioning? I post like yours all the time. But nobody complains about heating. It's much more efficient to live in a warm area and have to cool the house 10 degrees than live in a cold area and warm it 60.

            Because you can get quiet heaters. There's no such thing as a silent air conditioner.

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              Because you can get quiet heaters. There's no such thing as a silent air conditioner.

              Central air can be silent. Small forced air heaters can be noisy. Ridiculous argument is ridiculous.

              • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:13PM (#38527748) Homepage Journal

                Central air can be silent.

                No, it can't. You have to move the air, which causes noise.

                The difference between heating and cooling are many.
                You can easily convert energy into heat, another form of energy. But you can't convert it into cold, which is the lack of energy. You have to generate heat to generate cold -- in fact, more heat than you generate cold, due to entropy.
                Add to this that heat radiates, while cold doesn't. The best you can achieve is not reflecting heat back. So you need to distribute the cold, which takes fans and ducts, and invariably generates noise.

                Unless you have a room with the ceiling consisting of peltier elements, this means moving the cold air from somewhere else to where you want it, and this generates quite a bit of noise. If you're used to 10 dB ambient sound levels when no one is talking, a "silent" central air unit of 30-35 dB sounds rather loud. I know, because I sit in an office with central air right now. Those who are conditioned to the sound won't hear it, but central air is far from silent.
                People here can't hear a mosquito from across the room or their watch ticking on their arm, because it's never silent. In large parts due to air conditioning, including central air.

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by daem0n1x (748565)

                  You have to generate heat to generate cold -- in fact, more heat than you generate cold, due to entropy.

                  That's not true. An air conditioner is a heat pump, it moves heat from one place to the other, doesn't create it. A heater converts electricity in heat, so it creates heat.

                  • But, as previous poster implied, it typically disspates at least one unit of heat for each unit it moves. Better performance is possible, but worse is more likely.
                    • by daem0n1x (748565)
                      What?
                    • A heater converts energy from one form to another. i.e. electricity to heat.

                      A cooler is a heat pump - it moves "heat" from one point to another, hotter, point.

                      It is easier to get a high efficiency from a heater because most forms of inefficiency in a system turn out to be “waste” heat – i.e. what you want. Moving heat from one point to another is different. It’s though to get a highly efficient method of moving heat – unless you have demons.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell' [wikipedia.org]

                    • Re:Maxwell's demon (Score:4, Informative)

                      by delt0r (999393) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @03:08PM (#38529288)
                      What? this thread is crazy. A heat pump will often have a COP for heating as high as 3 and in theory can be as high as 5. That is for 1kW of power i can pump in 3kW of heat (power) into my house. This is without invoking Maxwell demons or any magic. That is Carnot efficiency. I cannot do this with a heat. The COP of a heater is simply 1.
                  • by Goaway (82658)

                    That's not true. An air conditioner is a heat pump, it moves heat from one place to the other, doesn't create it.

                    It does both, by necessity.

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by jbengt (874751)

                  You have to move the air, which causes noise.

                  False. Well, just about anything causes some noise, but it does not need to be noticeable. Think for a second. Recording studios and TV stations need air conditoining, and have strict limits onthe amount of noise that is tolerable.

                  You can easily convert energy into heat, another form of energy. But you can't convert it into cold, which is the lack of energy.

                  False. "Converting" energy into cold is the purpose of air conditioning

                  ou have to generate heat to g

          • by Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:33PM (#38528008)

            Why does is there such a hatred of air conditioning? I post like yours all the time.

            Can somebody translate that to human?

          • Why does is there such a hatred of air conditioning?

            Nobody who lives in a hot and/or humid environment hates AC. Those who don't live in such an environment lack the experience to judge.

        • by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:12PM (#38526774) Journal

          Having grown up in Scandinavia without any air conditioners or even fans, and moving to the US as an adult

          One of the statistics that I find horrifying is that nearly fifteen thousand people died in France alone during the 2003 heatwave. The death toll was attributed [usatoday.com] to the widespread lack of air conditioning in that country. A First World country wherein thousands of people die simply because it was hot outside? What's wrong with this picture?

          And what is it with Europeans and turning the A/C off anyway? Both times I've visited Europe I paid extra for the privilege of having A/C in my hotel room. Both times the hotel staff let themselves into my room and turned the A/C off whenever I left the room. This annoyed the hell out of me, particularly given the fact that the A/C was woefully undersized for the square footage of my room and the only way to make it halfway decent was to leave the unit running all the time. In the United States A/C is a standard feature even in budget motels.

          • You should be happy that it was on at all while you weren't in the room. In Japan the whole room - air conditioner, lights, electrical outlets - cut off when you leave, because they are only enabled when your room key is in a slot just inside the door.

            In general, making a few stereotypical assumptions, the air conditioners are probably "undersized" because A) Europeans don't mind a little sweat to conserve energy, and B) Europeans probably have less body fat to cool down.

          • by Shavano (2541114)
            Lowest latitude in France: 42d 19m. That's about the same as Boston, which is considered a northern city in the USA.
          • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:50PM (#38528252) Journal

            A First World country wherein thousands of people die simply because it was hot outside? What's wrong with this picture?

            Perhaps you should ask the people in the Chicago? The difference is that a lot of Europe rarely (or at least it used to be rarely) gets hot enough to require air conditioning in contrast to parts of the US that trace their population growth to the invention of air conditioning due to the stifling heat (at least that's what Atlanta claimed in some of it tourist literature several years ago).

            I would hazard a guess the the main reason for this is that the US is at a lower latitude that much of Europe and lacks the moderating influence of the ocean (no Mediterranean, Rockies block air from Pacific), but I am by no means an expert in such matters. Whatever the cause the US does seem to be, on average, hotter than much of Europe in the summer and colder in the winter. Europe does get hot but not for the prolonged months that the US seems to suffer. This means that not only is air conditioning a lot less common but heat waves occur far less frequently and are typically less severe so, when bad ones do happen, there are far more vulnerable people around because their population has not been reduced by frequent heat waves and there is little/no air conditioning available to help.....of course this does not explain the deaths in Chicago but I'll let you figure out why they happened.

        • by rubycodez (864176)
          having a few friends from Scandinavia, my theory on why they are so loud and boisterous is that they're always half-tanked up with booze. and if it's not that it must be the viking genes, now that plundering and pillaging are out of vogue as outlets
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chas (5144)

      No man! You *just don't "get it"*!

      You forgot the first rule of a climate crisis situation!

      In a climate crisis situation, anything that appears to support your idea that you're in a climate crisis is valid data. Anything that does not is pooh-pooh'ed away! Even if it's working off the same principle!

    • by Svippy (876087)

      There is no snow in Copenhagen.

  • by gedankenhoren (2001086) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @11:41AM (#38526340)
    see http://amrc.ssec.wisc.edu/blog/2011/12/29/update-on-record-high-temperatures-at-south-pole-and-aws-sites/

    "Here is an update on the South Pole and nearby Nico and Henry Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) record high temperatures recorded on 25 December 2011:
    -- The prior record high temperature at South Pole was recorded on 27 December 1978, not on 12 December 1978, as misquoted in some sources.
    -- Preliminary assessment of  the record high at Nico AWS was -8.2C or 17.2F on 25 December 2011.  This breaks the previous known record of -13.9C or 7F recorded on 4 January 2010.
    -- Preliminary assessment of the record high at Henry AWS was -8.9C or 16F on 25 December 2011. This break the previous known record of -14.5C or 5.9F on 5 January 2010."
  • Disc golf (Score:5, Informative)

    by uigrad_2000 (398500) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @11:48AM (#38526448) Homepage Journal

    Time to play some disc [columbusdiscgolf.com] golf [dgcoursereview.com].

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @11:54AM (#38526516)
    This is indeed weather, it's come close to that before (in the "global cooling" period of the 1970s) Dec 27, 1978 the high was -13.6 C +7.5 F.
    • by ClintJCL (264898) <clintjcl+slashdot@gmai l . c om> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @12:08PM (#38526708) Homepage Journal
      Actually in the 1970s there was not a big discussion about global cooling. It was something a couple journalists sensationally mentioned in a couple articles. Not scientists. Look it up on snopes.
      • by PortHaven (242123)

        Gee, I sure remember it talked about at lot in elementary school.

      • You can thank Leonard Nimoy and his In Search Of show for popularizing the Coming Ice Age, during the late 70's. If people are going to use that as proof against science, they'll also have to accept Spirit Voices, Bigfoot, and the Loch Ness Monster.
      • by rubycodez (864176)
        I am not referring to that feared "coming global cooling" nonsense, but rather the real dip in average global temperature from very roughly 1940 to 1980
      • by gatzke (2977)

        Igloo effect made it into my text books. I assume middle school texts are vetted by scientists?

        • by ClintJCL (264898)
          Sorry, textbooks are not written by scientists doing research. In fact, all of america's textbooks are written in conservative Texas -- there's been many articles about the inaccuracies they put into things. Simply put, when one wants to learn about a topic, one goes to a proper scientific text, not a schoolbook. Nor do your anecdotal memories of what you think were in a textbook when you were a child stand scrutiny, as confirmation bias causes people to purposely forget things that challenge their worldvi
  • It is the record high, but the average high in December is only -15.7F. Keep in mind that they get nearly 24 hour sunlight for all of November, December and January. Can't deny it's getting warmer, but this isn't doomsday material just yet.
  • Summer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by unixcorn (120825) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @11:58AM (#38526570)

    First, it's mid summer there. Second, there is no mention of the previous record so we have nothing to compare this "record" to. I have a friend who works there every year and his comments, from camp, last month was that they were battling storms and cold and hadn't been able to get too much work done. Finally, we have only been keeping track of temperatures there since 1956 so it's hardly worth getting into a tizzy over 60 years worth of record data.

    • Second, there is no mention of the previous record so we have nothing to compare this "record" to.

      I guess you did not notice the post made about 20 minutes ahead of yours by gedankenhoren, which compared record high temperatures at two nearby Antarctic stations with their previous record highs:

      -- Preliminary assessment of the record high at Nico AWS was -8.2C or 17.2F on 25 December 2011. This breaks the previous known record of -13.9C or 7F recorded on 4 January 2010.
      -- Preliminary assessment of the record high at Henry AWS was -8.9C or 16F on 25 December 2011. This break the previous known record of -14.5C or 5.9F on 5 January 2010.

      So at these stations (both close to the South Pole), the new record was more than 5.5C above the previous record.

    • Re:Summer (Score:5, Informative)

      by Deep Penguin (73203) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @01:24PM (#38527908) Homepage Journal

      The previous record is a matter of record: +7.5F in December, 1978. A few summers ago, we had a very warm week and we hit +7.0F in the middle of several days of above-zero temps. While I'm not a Global Warming denier by any means, the specific cause of these record and near-record temps is weather - specifically large masses of warm(er) air coming in from the coast.

      Normally, the weather at Pole is so predictable it follows a simple pie chart hanging up in the Meteorology office - the chart divides the wind direction into dominant categories such that you can look at the reading from the wind vanes and make a pretty good prediction of the present and impending weather (mostly, winds out of Grid North bring in clearer and drier air; winds out of Grid West are warmer and moister; and winds out of Grid South are infrequent and bring unsettled conditions). This is in part because most of the time, the air movement is katabatic, meaning it's rolling downhill, and the terrain around Pole favors winds from Grid North. While thermally-induced winds are not unknown, they aren't the dominant force. It takes a lot of energy to disrupt the usual patterns; that's part of what "Global Warming" means - the entire atmosphere has more (thermal) energy, so there's more available force to create disruptions on a global scale.

      • by khallow (566160)

        While thermally-induced winds are not unknown, they aren't the dominant force. It takes a lot of energy to disrupt the usual patterns; that's part of what "Global Warming" means - the entire atmosphere has more (thermal) energy, so there's more available force to create disruptions on a global scale.

        Except you're not speaking of a global weather phenomenon, but a regional one. Further, even in the absence of human induced global warming there will be a lot of thermal energy in the Earth's atmosphere and in the weather of Antarctica in particular.

    • by PortHaven (242123)

      50 years in a 4.5 billion year history.

      That's like comparing . to all of /.

  • If all the ice melts, we'll be able to dig up the fossilized palm trees.

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

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