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The NASA study revealed that West Antarctica’s key glaciers are in an irreversible retreat
Image source: NASA

The temperature in Antarctica has exceeded 20C for the first time.

Researchers logged a temperature of 20.75C on Seymour Island off the coast of the continent.

Brazilian scientist Carlos Schaefer told AFP they had “never seen a temperature this high in Antarctica”.

However, the scientist warned the temperature, logged on February 9, was just one reading and not part of a long-term data set.

Antarctica also hit a record last week, with a temperature reading of 18.3C on the Antarctic Peninsula.

This latest reading was taken at a monitoring station on Seymour Island, part of a chain of islands off the same peninsula, at the northernmost point of the continent.

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Although the temperature is a record high, Carlos Schaefer emphasized that the reading was not part of a wider study and so, in itself, could not be used to predict a trend.

He said: “We can’t use this to anticipate climatic changes in the future. It’s a data point.

“It’s simply a signal that something different is happening in that area.”

According to the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO), temperatures on the Antarctic continent have risen by almost 3C over the past 50 years, and that about 87% of the glaciers along its west coast have “retreated” in that time.

Over the past 12 years the glaciers have shown an “accelerated retreat” due to global warming, it adds.

January 2020 was also Antarctica’s warmest January on record.

Scientists have warned that global warming is causing so much melting at the South Pole, it will eventually disintegrate – causing the global sea level to rise by at least 10ft over the coming centuries.

The previous record for the entire Antarctic region – which includes the continent, islands and ocean that are in the Antarctic climatic zone – was 19.8C, logged in January 1982.

In July 2019, the Arctic region hit its own record temperature of 21C, logged by a base at the northern tip of Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic.


After meeting Pope Francis in Cuba, the head of Russia’s Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, flew to Antarctica to walk with penguins.

Patriarch Kirill held prayers at a research station before taking a walk with the animals.

A picture of the 69-year-old kneeling eye-to-eye with one went viral.

Russia has 10 research stations in the Antarctic, able to accommodate up to 120 people. Patriarch Kirill visited one, the Bellingshausen research station on the island of Waterloo.

Photo RT

Photo RT

The Russian Orthodox church near the Bellingshausen station, which opened in 2004, is the only church on the continent to hold services all year round, with priests spending the winter there.

Church officials said Patriarch Kirill prayed for polar researchers, including 64 Russians who have died on polar expeditions.

The patriarch’s visit was the first ever by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church to Antarctica. It followed the first encounter between a head of Russian Orthodox Church and a pope in nearly 1,000 years.

Since becoming Pope in 2013, Pope Francis has called for better relations between the different branches of Christianity.


Prince Harry successfully reached the South Pole after more than two weeks of travelling.

The royal joined members of Walking With the Wounded (WWTW) charity for the South Pole travel.

Unlucky for some, lucky for us,” Prince Harry said shortly before the finish line.

Prince Harry, 29, who headed one of the hike’s three teams (along with actors Alexander Skarsgard and Dominic West and a dozen wounded veterans), did it to raise money and awareness for the UK-based WWTW organization, which retrains injured soldiers.

Prince Harry successfully reached the South Pole after more than two weeks of travelling

Prince Harry successfully reached the South Pole after more than two weeks of travelling

Rougher than usual conditions forced organizers to call off the competitive part of the journey, but that didn’t dampen spirits.

The prince, who served as a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan, had nothing but praise for his teammates.

“Duncan [Slater, who was wounded in Afghanistan], it’s just remarkable the fact that someone with no legs has made it here,” he said.

“And Ivan [Castro] as well, when I look across I see him being guided around, totally blind, from America, and absolutely hates the cold, and you know he’s not doing it for himself, he’s doing it for his buddies back home, and that goes for everybody, every single one here.”

Prince Harry called finishing “an amazing feeling,” adding: “It will just prove to everybody that there’s so much that can be made possible when you think that nothing is left. I’m so proud, I’m so chuffed and I’m so privileged to be here with all these guys and girls.”

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Accounts of unusual sexual activities among Adelie penguins, observed a century ago by Dr. George Murray Levick, a member of Captain Scott’s polar team, are finally being made public.

Details, including “sexual coercion”, recorded by Dr. George Murray Levick were considered so shocking that they were removed from official accounts.

However, scientists now understand the biological reasons behind the acts that Dr. George Murray Levick considered “depraved”.

The Natural History Museum in UK has published his unedited papers.

Dr. George Murray Levick, an avid biologist, was the medical officer on Captain Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole in 1910. He was a pioneer in the study of penguins and was the first person to stay for an entire breeding season with a colony on Cape Adare.

He recorded many details of the lives of Adelie penguins, but some of their activities were just too much for the Edwardian sensibilities of the good doctor.

He was shocked by what he described as the “depraved” sexual acts of “hooligan” males who were mating with dead females. So distressed was he that he recorded the “perverted” activities in Greek in his notebook.

Accounts of unusual sexual activities among Adelie penguins, observed a century ago by Dr. George Murray Levick, a member of Captain Scott's polar team, are finally being made public

Accounts of unusual sexual activities among Adelie penguins, observed a century ago by Dr. George Murray Levick, a member of Captain Scott's polar team, are finally being made public

On his return to Britain, Dr. George Murray Levick attempted to publish a paper entitled “the natural history of the Adelie penguin”, but according to Douglas Russell, curator of eggs and nests at the Natural History Museum, it was too much for the times.

“He submitted this extraordinary and graphic account of sexual behaviour of the Adelie penguins, which the academic world of the post-Edwardian era found a little too difficult to publish,” Douglas Russell said.

The sexual behavior section was not included in the official paper, but the then keeper of zoology at the museum, Sidney Harmer, decided that 100 copies of the graphic account should be circulated to a select group of scientists.

Douglas Russell said they simply did not have the scientific knowledge at that time to explain Dr. George Murray Levick’s accounts of what he termed necrophilia.

“What is happening there is not in any way analogous to necrophilia in the human context,” Douglas Russell said.

“It is the males seeing the positioning that is causing them to have a sexual reaction.

“They are not distinguishing between live females who are awaiting congress in the colony, and dead penguins from the previous year which just happen to be in the same position.”

Only two of the original 100 copies of Dr. George Murray Levick’s account survive. Douglas Russell and colleagues have now published a re-interpretation of Dr. George Murray Levick’s findings in the journal Polar Record.

Douglas Russell described how he had discovered one of the copies by accident.

“I just happened to be going through the file on George Murray Levick when I shifted some papers and found underneath them this extraordinary paper which was headed <<the sexual habits of the adelie penguin, not for publication>> in large black type.

“It’s just full of accounts of sexual coercion, sexual and physical abuse of chicks, non-procreative sex, and finishes with an account of what he considers homosexual behaviour, and it was fascinating.”

The report and Dr. George Murray Levick’s handwritten notes are now on display at the Natural History Museum for the first time. Douglas Russell believes they show a man who struggled to understand penguins as they really are.

“He’s just completely shocked. He, to a certain extent, falls into the same trap as an awful lot of people in seeing penguins as bipedal birds and seeing them as little people. They’re not. They are birds and should be interpreted as such.”