Guest essay by Eric Worrall (see update below – Anthony)

h/t JoNova; Global warming appears to have brought near record cold to Scott Base in Antarctica, which a few days ago endured -81.7C / -115F, almost 4 degrees below the freezing point of Carbon Dioxide (-78C / -109F).

Scott Base crew enduring near-record breaking Antarctica winter – 10C colder than usual

Spare a thought for the hardy crew who are wintering down in Antarctica, experiencing near-record breaking cold temperatures. 

They’ve come very near to the coldest ever recorded temperature of -89.6C.

While it may have been -16C when Newshub spoke with the Scott Base crew – that’s almost balmy conditions compared to the -81.7C recorded on the icy continent this week. 

Antarctica New Zealand science tech Jamie McGaw says he “can’t even imagine that extreme cold”. 

NIWA Meteorologist Ben Noll says the polar vortex has “kept all of these cold temperatures locked in over the Antarctic continent, and they haven’t been able to really push north – whether it’s to Australia, New Zealand or South America – they’ve been kind of stuck here.”

Read more (includes video):

Its worth noting temperature is only part of the equation The partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere is very low, the -78C freezing point really only applies when you have pure CO2 at 1 atmosphere (h/t Dave Middleton, Anthony Watts). At lower pressures or where CO2 is only a trace component (normal atmospheric conditions) sublimation (evaporation of the CO2 ice) appears to dominate, making it highly unlikely there would be any accumulation of CO2 ice.

Nevertheless it would have been fascinating to monitor atmospheric CO2 content as the temperature dropped.

I understand if no such experiments were conducted. Perhaps scientists have already examined this possibility in situ as well as in laboratory conditions, or perhaps during the depths of the recent chill the researchers were more focussed on other priorities, like preventing body appendages from freezing solid and dropping off.

UPDATE by Anthony: I edited the title, because it gives an incorrect impression. The original title read:

Global Warming? Scott Base Antarctica Endures -115F, Cold Enough To Freeze CO2

The revised title:

Global Warming? Scott Base Antarctica Endures -115F

While the -115F air temperature is below the freezing point of CO2 at -109F, CO2 WILL NOT FREEZE OUT OF THE AIR. The partial pressure of CO2 in our atmosphere is too low. We did an experiment back in 2009 that proved this.


Tony Heller, aka “Steve Goddard” still won’t admit to making a mistake on that issue, which is why he no longer posts here.

via Watts Up With That?

June 23, 2021