National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2010

Air temperature variations on the Atlantic—Arctic boundary since 1802

Wood, K.R., J.E. Overland, T. Jónsson, and B.V. Smoliak

Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L17708, doi: 10.1029/2010GL044176 (2010)

A two-hundred year instrumental record of annual surface air temperature in the Atlantic-Arctic boundary region was reconstructed from four station-based composite time series. The new time series adds seventy-six years to the previously available record. Credibility is supported by ice core records, other temperature proxies, and historical evidence. This record provides new perspective on past climate fluctuations in a region where pivotal climate system processes occur and where unexplained low frequency variations were observed during the 20th century. It is well correlated with sea-surface temperature anomalies, both regionally and in the vicinity of the North Atlantic western boundary current and southern recirculation gyre. The extended instrumental record reveals an irregular pattern of decadal-scale temperature fluctuations over the past two centuries. The early 20th century warming event is by far the most striking historical example.

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