Where there was a white ice cap, there are now brown blotches of land; melted snow and ice have created ponds of water. Those are the effects of the recent record high temperatures in Antarctica, according to NASA, which on Friday released stunning before-and-after satellite images of the northern Antarctic Peninsula.
The photos center on Eagle Island, part of the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula that stretches toward South America. Satellites took the images just nine days apart, on Feb. 4 and Feb. 13. But dramatic changes took place in that time span. Two days after the first photo was taken, the area hit 18.3 degrees Celsius (64.9 degrees Fahrenheit) — matching that day’s temperature in Los Angeles, NASA notes.
“The warm spell caused widespread melting on nearby glaciers,” the space agency says. “Such persistent warmth was not typical in Antarctica until the 21st century, but it has become more common in recent years.”