Surface Air Temperature
Arctic Surface Air Temperatures for the Past 100 years: Analysis and Reconstruction of an Integrated Data Set for Arctic System Science
The Arctic has long been considered a harbinger of global climate change since increases in surface air temperature (SAT) over the globe are amplified in the Arctic. These increases in SAT have a profound impact on many other aspects of Arctic climate and ecology. For example, the thinning and decrease in area of Arctic sea ice has been attributed to increases in SAT, and many plant and animal species have been migrating further north.
In order to better understand these processes, accurate fields of SAT are required, but as of yet, a robust gridded data set of SAT of sufficient length is not available over the entire Arctic, e.g. the trends in SAT over the Arctic from 1954 – 2003 shown in the ACIA (2004) report exhibit a “data void” in SAT over the Arctic Ocean. The data sets that are currently available that provide estimates of SAT over the Arctic Ocean begin in 1979 with the increase in buoy observations and satellite derived surface temperatures. There are also some discrepancies between the in situ and satellite derived data sets, e.g. the satellite estimates of trends show cooling over the Arctic during winter where the in situ estimates show that temperatures have warmed. This research will produce authoritative SAT data sets, which cover the Arctic Ocean from 1901 – present, which will be used to better understand Arctic climate change. The primary goal of this study is to understand the causes and effects of the interdecadal variability in Arctic SAT on Arctic and global climate.