AGW Observer

Observations of anthropogenic global warming

Papers on Antarctic temperature trends

Posted by Ari Jokimäki on August 8, 2009

This is a list of papers about temperature trends in Antarctic. The list is not complete, and will most likely be updated in the future in order to make it more thorough and more representative.

UPDATE (November 28, 2010): Schneider et al. (2006), van den Broeke (2000), and Shuman & Stearns (2001) added.
UPDATE (November 9, 2009): Milliken et al. (2009) added to “closely related” section, thanks to John Cook for pointing it out (see the comment section below).
UPDATE (September 14, 2009): Chapman & Walsh (2007) added, thanks for “Curious” for pointing this paper to me (see the comments section below).

Warming of the Antarctic ice-sheet surface since the 1957 International Geophysical Year – Steig et al. (2009) “Here we show that significant warming extends well beyond the Antarctic Peninsula to cover most of West Antarctica, an area of warming much larger than previously reported.” [Full text] [Correction]

Attribution of polar warming to human influence – Gillett et al. (2008) “We find that the observed changes in Arctic and Antarctic temperatures are not consistent with internal climate variability or natural climate drivers alone, and are directly attributable to human influence.” [Full text]

Recent variability and trends of Antarctic near-surface temperature – Monaghan et al. (2008) “The subtle shift toward warming during the past 15 years raises the question of whether the recent trends are linked more closely to anthropogenic influences or multidecadal variability.” [Full text]

A Synthesis of Antarctic Temperatures – Chapman & Walsh (2007) “Monthly surface air temperatures from land surface stations, automatic weather stations, and ship/buoy observations from the high-latitude Southern Hemisphere are synthesized into gridded analyses at a resolution appropriate for applications ranging from spatial trend analyses to climate change impact assessments. … Trends calculated for the 1958–2002 period suggest modest warming over much of the 60°–90°S domain. All seasons show warming, with winter trends being the largest at +0.172°C decade−1 while summer warming rates are only +0.045°C decade−1. The 45-yr temperature trend for the annual means is +0.082°C decade−1 corresponding to a +0.371°C temperature change over the 1958–2002 period of record.” Chapman, William L., John E. Walsh, 2007, J. Climate, 20, 4096–4117. doi: 10.1175/JCLI4236.1. [Full text]

Antarctic temperatures over the past two centuries from ice cores – Schneider et al. (2006) “We present a reconstruction of Antarctic mean surface temperatures over the past two centuries based on water stable isotope records from high-resolution, precisely dated ice cores. Both instrumental and reconstructed temperatures indicate large interannual to decadal scale variability, with the dominant pattern being anti-phase anomalies between the main Antarctic continent and the Antarctic Peninsula region. Comparative analysis of the instrumental Southern Hemisphere (SH) mean temperature record and the reconstruction suggests that at longer timescales, temperatures over the Antarctic continent vary in phase with the SH mean. Our reconstruction suggests that Antarctic temperatures have increased by about 0.2°C since the late nineteenth century. The variability and the long-term trends are strongly modulated by the SH Annular Mode in the atmospheric circulation.” Schneider, D. P., E. J. Steig, T. D. van Ommen, D. A. Dixon, P. A. Mayewski, J. M. Jones, and C. M. Bitz (2006), Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L16707, doi:10.1029/2006GL027057. [Full text]

Antarctic atmospheric temperature trend patterns from satellite observations – Johanson & Fu (2006) “We show good agreement between satellite-inferred temperature trends and radiosonde observations. It is illustrated that the Antarctic troposphere has cooled in the summer and fall seasons since 1979,… It is shown that significant tropospheric warming prevails during Antarctic winters and springs, but we also find significant winter cooling over half of East Antarctica.” [Full text]

Significant Warming of the Antarctic Winter Troposphere – Turner et al. (2006) “The data show that regional midtropospheric temperatures have increased at a statistically significant rate of 0.5° to 0.7°Celsius per decade over the past 30 years. … The available data do not allow us to unambiguously assign a cause to the tropospheric warming at this stage.” [Full text]

Antarctic climate change during the last 50 years – Turner et al. (2005) “The Reference Antarctic Data for Environmental Research (READER) project data set of monthly mean Antarctic near-surface temperature, mean sea-level pressure (MSLP) and wind speed has been used to investigate trends in these quantities over the last 50 years for 19 stations with long records. Eleven of these had warming trends and seven had cooling trends in their annual data (one station had too little data to allow an annual trend to be computed), indicating the spatial complexity of change that has occurred across the Antarctic in recent decades.” [Full text] [Erratum]

A further assessment of surface temperature changes at stations in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean, 1949-2002 – Jacka et al. (2004) “The data are studied in four groupings: coastal Antarctica (excluding the Antarctic Peninsula), inland Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula and the Southern Ocean/Pacific Ocean islands. We find that within each of these four groupings the average trend indicates warming.”

Recent Rapid Regional Climate Warming on the Antarctic Peninsula – Vaughan et al. (2003) “We discuss the significance of [recent rapid regional] warming in one area, the Antarctic Peninsula. Here warming was much more rapid than in the rest of Antarctica where it was not significantly different to the global mean. We highlight climate proxies that appear to show that [recent rapid regional] warming on the Antarctic Peninsula is unprecedented over the last two millennia, and so unlikely to be a natural mode of variability.”

Climate change (Communication arising): Recent temperature trends in the Antarctic – Turner et al. (2002) “Doran et al. claim that there has been a net cooling of the entire continent between 1966 and 2000, particularly during summer and autumn. We argue that this result has arisen because of an inappropriate extrapolation of station data across large, data-sparse areas of the Antarctic.”

Antarctic climate cooling and terrestrial ecosystem response – Doran et al. (2002) “Although previous reports suggest slight recent continental warming, our spatial analysis of Antarctic meteorological data demonstrates a net cooling on the Antarctic continent between 1966 and 2000, particularly during summer and autumn.” [Full text]

Decadal-Length Composite Inland West Antarctic Temperature Records – Shuman & Stearns (2001) “Decadal-length, daily average, temperature records have been generated for four inland West Antarctic sites by combining automatic weather station (AWS) and satellite passive microwave brightness temperature records. These records are composites due to the difficulty in maintaining continuously operating AWS in Antarctica for multiyear to multidecade periods. Calibration of 37-GHz, vertical polarization, brightness temperature data during periods of known air temperature by emissivity modeling allows the resulting calibrated brightness temperatures (TC) to be inserted into data gaps with constrained errors. By the same technique, but with reduced constraints, TC data were also developed through periods before AWS unit installation or after removal. The resulting composite records indicate that temperature change is not consistent in sign or magnitude from location to location across the West Antarctic region. Linear regression analysis shows an approximate 0.9°C increase over 19 yr at AWS Byrd (0.045 yr−1 ±0.135°C), a 0.9°C cooling over 12 yr at AWS Lettau (−0.078 yr−1 ±0.178°C), a 3°C cooling over 10 yr at AWS Lynn (−0.305 yr−1 ±0.314°C), and a 2°C warming over 19 yr at AWS Siple (0.111 yr−1 ±0.079°C). Only the Siple trend is statistically significant at the 95% confidence level however. The temperature increases at Siple and possibly Byrd are suggestive of a broader regional warming documented at sites on the Antarctic Peninsula. The cooling suggested by the shorter records in the vicinity of the Ross Ice Shelf is consistent with results recently reported by Comiso and suggests that significant regional differences exist. Continued data acquisition should enable detection of the magnitude and direction of potential longer-term changes.” Shuman, Christopher A., Charles R. Stearns, 2001, J. Climate, 14, 1977–1988. [Full text]

Variability and Trends in Antarctic Surface Temperatures from In Situ and Satellite Infrared Measurements – Comiso (2000) “The surface air temperatures observed from stations in Antarctica have been shown to have predominantly positive trends that are as high as 0.5°C decade−1 along the Antarctic Peninsula. To evaluate whether the trends are caused by a local or large-scale phenomenon in the Antarctic region, surface temperatures inferred from infrared satellite data from 1979 to 1998 have been analyzed in combination with data from 21 stations that have long record lengths. The surface temperatures derived from infrared data are coherent spatially and temporally and are shown to agree well with Antarctic station data with a correlation coefficient of 0.98 and a standard deviation of about 3°C. The trend analysis on station data yielded on the average 0.012 ± 0.008°C yr−1 and −0.008 ± 0.025°C yr−1 for the 45- and 20-yr record, respectively. The latter reasonably agrees with the trend of −0.042 ± 0.067°C yr−1 inferred from the satellite 20-yr record. The 20-yr record length is shown to be about the minimum length required for a meaningful trend analysis study. However, interannual fluctuations of the temperatures are large and the 95% confidence level for the satellite trends ranges from −0.177 to 0.094°C yr−1 for the Antarctic ice sheet. Nevertheless, the observed cooling is intriguing, especially since it is compatible with the observed trend in the sea ice cover. In the sea ice regions, the northernmost positions of the ice edge are shown to be influenced by alternating warm and cold anomalies around the continent. The pattern of these anomalies is consistent with that of the Antarctic circumpolar wave but with predominantly mode-3 instead of mode-2 wave as reported previously.” Comiso, Josefino C., 2000, J. Climate, 13, 1674–1696. [Full text]

On the Interpretation of Antarctic Temperature Trends – van den Broeke (2000) “Determining the rate of atmospheric warming in Antarctica is hampered by the brevity of the temperature records (<50 years), which still contain signals of decadal circulation variability in the Southern Hemisphere. In this note it is demonstrated that Antarctic warming trends have been regionally modified by slow circulation changes and associated changes in sea-ice cover: decadal weakening of the semiannual oscillation since the mid-1970s has limited the meridional heat exchange between Antarctica and its surroundings, so that warming trends have leveled out since then. In contrast, northerly circulation anomalies in combination with decreased sea-ice cover have regionally enhanced low-level warming, for instance in the region of the Antarctic Peninsula. Based on this knowledge, the authors propose a background Antarctic warming trend of 1.30 ± 0.38°C (century)−1, representative of the period 1957–95.” van den Broeke, Michiel R., 2000, J. Climate, 13, 3885–3889. [Full text]

Closely related

High-resolution Holocene climate record from Maxwell Bay, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica – Milliken et al. (2009) “The highest resolution Holocene sediment core from the Antarctic Peninsula to date was collected during the first SHALDRIL cruise (NBP0502). … This high-resolution sediment record comes from a region that is currently experiencing dramatic climate change and associated glacial retreat. … There is no evidence for an early Holocene climatic reversal, as recorded farther south at the Palmer Deep drill site. Minimum sea-ice cover and warm water conditions occurred between 8.2 and 5.9 ka. From 5.9 to 2.6 ka, there was a gradual cooling and more extensive sea-ice cover in the bay. After 2.6 ka, the climate varied slightly, causing only subtle variation in glacier grounding lines. There is no compelling evidence for a Little Ice Age readvance in Maxwell Bay. The current warming and associated glacial response in the northern Antarctic Peninsula appears to be unprecedented in its synchroneity and widespread impact.”

7 Responses to “Papers on Antarctic temperature trends”

  1. Curious said

    You may want to add:

    William L. Chapman and John E. Walsh (2007). “A Synthesis of Antarctic Temperatures”. Journal of Climate 20 (16): 4096–4117. doi:10.1175/JCLI4236.1
    http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2FJCLI4236.1
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/Antarctic.paper.chapwalsh.2005.pdf

  2. Ari Jokimäki said

    That’s a keeper, thanks. These lists are largely in a “draft” state, and I assume that all of them are missing some key papers, but it’s a work in progress. I remember when getting papers together for this list, I rejected some papers that dealt with southern hemisphere trends and said something about Antarctic temperatures on the side, but I don’t think I ever saw this paper so it must have flown under my radar.

  3. Curious said

    Yep, sometimes the boundaries of the subect are not very clear (eg. skin/surface/tropospheric temperatures, regionally-focused temperatures (eg. above sea ice), different time periods…) and you have to cut somewhere🙂

  4. Ari Jokimäki said

    I just recently have come across papers (or, rather, payed more attention them than before) that discuss temperature measurements in tropics, but they are not about the current hot spot problem, they are about the little bit older troposphere temperature problem (that where satellites and radiosondes were not showing same kind of temperature trends than the surface temperature record). Those papers talk about very similar things than the hot spot papers so it’s quite difficult sometimes to determine which problem they are talking about. I think my list on the hot spot has couple of papers that actually talk about that other problem. I’ll have to look over them and clean that list.

  5. John Cook said

    High-resolution Holocene climate record from Maxwell Bay, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica – Milliken (2009) “The highest resolution Holocene sediment core from the Antarctic Peninsula to date was collected during the first SHALDRIL cruise (NBP0502). Drilling yielded a 108.2-m-long core (87% recovery; site NBP0502–1B) from Maxwell Bay, South Shetland Islands. This high-resolution sediment record comes from a region that is currently experiencing dramatic climate change and associated glacial retreat. Such records can help to constrain the nature of past climate change and causal mechanisms, and to provide a context for evaluating current climate change and its impacts.

    The base of the drill site sampled till and/or proximal glacimarine sediments resting directly on bedrock. Glacimarine suspension deposits composed of dark greenish gray silty mud with variable diatom abundance and scattered very fine sand laminations make up the majority of the sedimentary section. Detailed sedimentological and geochemical analyses, including magnetic susceptibility, total organic carbon (TOC) content, carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition, pebble content, and biogenic silica content, allow subdivision of the glacimarine section into nine units, and seismic facies analyses resulted in the identification of six distinct seismic units. We used 29 radiocarbon ages to construct an age model and calculate sedimentation rates that vary by two orders of magnitude, from 0.7 mm/a to ~30 mm/a.

    Radiocarbon ages from glacimarine sediments just above the till date back to between 14.1 and 14.8 ka. Thus, ice was grounded in the fjord during the Last Glacial Maximum and eroded older sediments from the fjord. Following initial retreat of grounded ice from Maxwell Bay, the fjord was covered by a permanent floating ice canopy, probably an ice tongue. The highest sedimentation rate corresponds to an interval that contains abundant sand laminations and gravelly mud inter vals and likely represents a melt-out phase or period of rapid glacial retreat from 10.1 ka to 8.2 ka. There is no evidence for an early Holocene climatic reversal, as recorded farther south at the Palmer Deep drill site. Minimum sea-ice cover and warm water conditions occurred between 8.2 and 5.9 ka. From 5.9 to 2.6 ka, there was a gradual cooling and more extensive sea-ice cover in the bay. After 2.6 ka, the climate varied slightly, causing only subtle variation in glacier grounding lines. There is no compelling evidence for a Little Ice Age readvance in Maxwell Bay. The current warming and associated glacial response in the northern Antarctic Peninsula appears to be unprecedented in its synchroneity and widespread impact.”

  6. Ari Jokimäki said

    Thanks, John!

    I added it to “closely related” section because in the future I’m going to do separate lists on the historical evidence (ice cores, sediment cores, etc.), and then I’ll probably move this paper there.

  7. Ari Jokimäki said

    I updated this list. Schneider et al. (2006), van den Broeke (2000), and Shuman & Stearns (2001) were added and Comiso (2000) got full text link.

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