The U.N. weather agency says an Argentine research base on the northern tip of Antarctica is reporting a temperature that, if confirmed, could amount to a record high for the icy continent.
The World Meteorological Organization said Friday the base has recorded 18.3 degrees Celsius (64.9 Fahrenheit) — topping the former record of 17.5 degrees tallied in March 2015.
WMO says the Antarctic Peninsula on the continent's northwest tip near South America is among the fastest warming regions on Earth.
Temperatures there have risen almost 3 degrees Celsius over the last half-century.
"Everything we have seen thus far indicates a likely legitimate record but we will of course begin a formal evaluation of the record once we have full data from SMN and on the meteorological conditions surrounding the event," said WMO's Weather and Climate Extremes rapporteur, Randal Cerveny.
"The record appears to be likely associated (in the short term) with what we call a regional "foehn" event over the area: a rapid warming of air coming down a slope/mountain,” Cerveny explained.
WMO added that the amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic ice sheet increased at least six-fold between 1979 and 2017.