A new report shows Antarctica experienced one of its coldest winters on record during 2021.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center said the continent’s temperatures in June, July and August were 6.1 degrees lower than the 1981 to 2010 average at -81.2 degrees.
Scientists said it was the second coldest winter after 2004 in the 60-year weather record at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
During the polar darkness period, from April through September, the average temperature was -77.6 degrees, the coldest on record.
Researchers attributed the extremely cold temperatures to "two extended periods of stronger-than-average encircling winds around the continent, which tend to isolate the ice sheet from warmer conditions." They also noted a strong upper-atmosphere polar vortex that led to a significant ozone hole.
The news is the complete opposite of February 2020, where the continent experienced its hottest temperatures on record when the temperature in northern Antarctica hit nearly 65 degrees.
Climate change is heating up Antarctica and the Arctic — the Earth’s polar regions — faster than other regions of the planet.
The Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the globe, according to an annual report published in December by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. There is no similar yearly report for Antarctica.
In May, the world’s largest iceberg just formed after breaking off from Antarctica, according to the European Space Agency. The giant piece of ice is shaped like an ironing board and it’s about 105 miles in length and 15 miles wide - to put that into perspective, Manhattan Island is only 22 miles in length and 3 miles wide.
President Joe Biden has repeatedly called for measures to combat climate change. Biden and Democrats are pursuing a sweeping $3.5 trillion federal overhaul that includes landmark measures to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in what would be the most consequential environmental policies ever enacted, after years of fits and starts.
The Democratic plan will make historic investments in clean energy, climate resilience and environmental justice, she said. "We have to get this right.″
Included in the massive legislation is a nationwide clean-electricity program that is intended to eliminate climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions from U.S. power plants by 2035 — catching up to requirements already set in some states.
The proposal would spend billions to install 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations and upgrade the power grid to make it more resilient during hurricanes and other extreme weather events that are increasing and intensifying as a result of climate change.
Overall, the Biden package aims to provide more than $600 billion to tackle climate change and lower greenhouse gas emissions, funded in large part by taxes on corporations, the wealthy and other fees, keeping to Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000 a year.
The Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported from Los Angeles.