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. The Antarctic Peninsula has experienced a major warming over the last 50 years, with temperatures at Faraday/Vernadsky station having increased at a rate of 0.56°C decade-1 over the year and 1.09°C decade-1 during the winter; both figures are statistically significant at less than the 5% level. Overlapping 30 year trends of annual mean temperatures indicate that, at all but two of the 10 coastal stations for which trends could be computed back to 1961, the warming trend was greater (or the cooling trend less) during the 1961-90 period compared with 1971-2000. All the continental stations for which MSLP data were available show negative trends in the annual mean pressures over the full length of their records, which we attribute to the trend in recent decades towards the Southern Hemisphere annular mode (SAM) being in its high-index state. Except for Halley, where the trends are constant, the MSLP trends for all stations on the Antarctic continent for 1971-2000 were more negative than for 1961-90. All but two of the coastal stations have recorded increasing mean wind speeds over recent decades, which is also consistent with the change in the nature of the SAM.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science