Ukrainian scientists spoke about the climate anomalies recorded at the Akademik Vernadsky station and their impact on the Antarctic and the planet as a whole during COP28. This is the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, which takes place in Dubai from November 30 to December 12.
The event with the participation of Antarctic researchers took place today, December 4, at the Ukrainian Pavilion. This platform is dedicated to informing the international community about the scale of environmental damage caused by Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. The event was organized by the National Antarctic Science Center together with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine and the APENA3 project.
Anomalies at Vernadsky
Here are just a few facts presented by our scientists:
- The highest air temperature in winter is +8.7°C. On July 3, 2023, meteorologists at Vernadsky recorded the highest July air temperature for all years of observation. The previous highest value was +5.6°C back in July 1965, when the station still belonged to the United Kingdom. This confirms the conclusion of the new climate report of the UN World Meteorological Organization, namely that 2023 will be the warmest year (!) in the history of observations.
- The lowest air temperature will be only -13.8°C. This was the coldest day of 2023 in the Vernadsky area. Previously, it ranged from -15 to -30°C, and in 1958 it was -43.3°C.
- The highest snow level was 350 cm. This new snow record was set at Vernadsky in November 2022. This is almost half a meter more than the previous maximum. And this is despite the fact that the 3 meters recorded in December 2021 were also a record: they exceeded the 2.65 meters of 2016. With such snow levels, penguins walked on the roof of the station. How is this related to climate change? Warmer winters retain more moisture in the atmosphere, which leads to more intense precipitation. This is one of the reasons why Antarctica is experiencing snow accumulation.
- The smallest amount of sea ice. According to the results of the Antarctic winter of 2023, polar explorers recorded that there was little floating ice in the Vernadsky Sea, and no stable ice cover, which usually “binds” the sea around our island during this period, was formed at all. In general, according to the United Nations, the level of sea ice in the Antarctic has recently been record low.
Impact on fauna
Scientists are already noting the impact of this situation on animal life in the station area. For example, this season, Weddell seals had problems with childbearing due to the lack of floating ice, and heat-loving sub-Antarctic penguins, on the contrary, are taking over more and more nesting areas.
At COP28, it was noted that it is necessary to intensify the efforts of all countries to prevent and mitigate the effects of climate change. However, some states are instead focusing on destruction and war.