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Antarctic Peninsula is warmer than most of Texas on potentially record-breaking day

Antarctica’s ecosystem hit by climate change

Global warming is hitting the world's coldest places. It's the first week of February, and the weather in the Antarctic Peninsula on Thursday was sunny and a preliminary record-breaking 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit — warmer than most of Texas. 

The temperature recorded in the northwest part of the continent on Thursday is 1.4 degrees hotter than the its hottest recorded temperature. Argentina's National Meteorological Service said the continent's last record was 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit on March 24, 2015. 

The World Meteorological Organization is in the process of confirming that Thursday's temperature is the highest to date. 

In Texas on Thursday, Dallas saw a high of 52 degrees Fahrenheit, while many northern areas in the state saw up to three inches of snow, according to The Weather Channel. It's important to note that it's summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and winter in the Northern Hemisphere. 

The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest-warming places on Earth. On Elephant Island, just slightly north of the peninsula, chinstrap penguins have suffered a 60% decline because of the increasing temperatures, researchers have found. Researchers have also discovered that the average temperature there has increased by more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit in five decades — a rate that is five times the global average. 

Just hours before the next round of Democratic debates, many of the remaining contenders weighed in on the news. Bernie Sanders tweeted that "spring weather in Antarctica is truly insane" while Tom Steyer said "it's clear we have to act on climate change." 

On its website, the World Meteorological Organization said that Antarctica has increasingly lost ice over the years. Much of that loss is because warmer ocean water has caused the ice shelves to melt. Along the west coast of the peninsula, 87% of glaciers have retreated in the last 50 years, according to the organization. The majority of that retreat took place in the last 12. 

Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, otherwise known as the "Doomsday Glacier," has also been the source of an alarming discovery: warm water is underneath it. As water surrounding the glacier continues to warm, it could cause the 74,000-square-mile glacier to collapse. If that were to happen, the collapse could release a mass of water that is roughly as large as Florida, and global sea levels could increase by more than three feet, scientists have warned. 

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