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6 - The instrumental period

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 September 2011

John Turner
Affiliation:
British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge
Gareth J. Marshall
Affiliation:
British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge
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Summary

Introduction

Analyses of the conventional surface meteorological observations indicate that the near-surface air temperature of the Earth as a whole has increased by about 0.6 °C over the last century (IPCC, 2007). However, the patterns of surface change across the Earth in the instrumental era are complex and sensitive to the period examined. Many studies highlight that some of the largest environmental changes have taken place at high latitudes.

In this chapter we are concerned with high latitude atmospheric, oceanic and cryospheric changes over the period for which there are a reasonable number of in-situ instrumental records. This is obviously shorter than for the more populated mid latitude regions and covers only about the last 100 to 150 years in the Arctic, and about 50 years in the Antarctic. The first long meteorological records started in Europe during the seventeenth century at locations such as Paris and London, but measurements from the Arctic generally began during the nineteenth century. However, as will be discussed later, there are several Arctic or near-Arctic temperature records that extend back to 1840–1860, such as those from Murmansk, Russia and Reykjavik, Iceland, and around a dozen starting from the second half of the nineteenth century. The greatest increase in the number of Arctic meteorological records came over 1930–40, and later in this chapter we discuss the temperature records from 59 stations in the high latitude areas of the Northern Hemisphere that provide reasonable longitudinal coverage over the areas around the Arctic Ocean.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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  • The instrumental period
  • John Turner, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, Gareth J. Marshall, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge
  • Book: Climate Change in the Polar Regions
  • Online publication: 07 September 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511975431.007
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  • The instrumental period
  • John Turner, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, Gareth J. Marshall, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge
  • Book: Climate Change in the Polar Regions
  • Online publication: 07 September 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511975431.007
Available formats
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • The instrumental period
  • John Turner, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, Gareth J. Marshall, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge
  • Book: Climate Change in the Polar Regions
  • Online publication: 07 September 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511975431.007
Available formats
×