CLIMATIC MATTERS

Brian Gunter, Narooma, NSW, Australia    http://members.westnet.com.au/brigun/climatic_matters.html

"The art of prophecy is very difficult, especially about the future." - Mark Twain

 

   

 

 

 

TEMPERATURE TRENDS

FOR “COLD NORTHERN REGION”

 

 

Are the Arctic and other "cold northern" locations becoming significantly warmer in recent years? 

Are there any reliable, long-term temperature records available for this region?

Do historical temperature records give us any indication of probable future temperature trends?

Should we reconsider any plans of migrating to Greenland or Siberia to escape from the effects of "global warming"?

Some of these questions are answered below.   Please send me your comments.

 

 

 

Long-term air temperature records at 28 stations in the "Cold Northern Region" have been extracted from the website of KNMI (Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute).  This is all raw data (GHCN), without any adjustments ever having been made (as far as I am aware).  The "Cold Northern Region" is defined as locations in the northern hemisphere with mean annual temperatures of less than +5ºC.  These stations are mainly located at latitudes north of 50ºN, but exclude high elevation stations in the European Alps.  Only stations with largely complete and post-2005 records were selected.  Only stations located in rural areas or in small towns were used in this analysis in order to minimise local effects of urbanisation.  

 

The latest data that I could locate were for July 2011.

 

I have not been able to make any quality checks on the data.  It is possible that there have been some changes in station locations and instrumentation over the periods of record, but regional comparisons will reduce this influence.

 

Graphical plots are presented below of annual mean temperatures at each of the 28 stations.  [ Annual mean temperatures are the average of the mean daily temperatures over each year (the mean daily temperatures are the average of the observed daily maximum and minimum temperatures). ]   

 

In addition, the mean monthly temperatures for the warmest and coldest months (based on long-term averages) at each station are plotted.  The warmest months are always July or August.  The coldest months are generally January or February although one location had its warmest month in March. 

 

A mean trend line has been fitted through each of the sets of data.

 

 

MY CONCLUSIONS:

 

1.  At most of the 28 stations there was an overall trend of increasing temperature over the period of records.  This is significant as it shows that regional air temperatures have been increasing over the past 150-200 years (and probably longer) and is not a recent phenomena.  [ This long-term positive trend is consistent with even longer records in temperate regions of Europe and with the acknowledged significant increase in global temperatures since the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715) which was the coldest period of the Little Ice Age (1280-1850. ]

 

2.  The long-term temperature trends at all stations showed well-defined cyclic variations - this is a most important conclusion.  The typical period of the temperature cycles is about 80 years which meant that most of the stations analysed showed only one cycle.  In general terms, it is seen from the graphs, that temperatures were increasing prior to about 1930.  From about 1930 until about 1970 temperatures were either relatively stable or decreased.  From about 1970 temperatures have generally increased.  It should be noted that the rate of temperature increase in the 1920s was quite often similar to that recorded in the 1990s - deja vu!  The obvious conclusion is that we (if we are "cold northerners"!) may be close to a natural cyclical peak and that temperatures may soon stabilise or even decrease.

 

3.  It was difficult to assess the average long-term trend rates due to the cyclical trends at most stations.  Over the past 70-90 year cycle it was found that the mean annual temperature had increased by between zero and +1°C.  Corresponding typical increases in the summer (July or August) mean temperatures were -1°C to +1°C Typical winter (January or February) mean temperatures increased between zero and +2°C .

 

4.  About half of the stations had significant higher temperatures during the past 10 to 20 years, but these were mostly within the historical variation from the long-term cyclical trends.  There is no evidence of an alarming regional change in temperature trends in recent years.  In many cases there have been past periods of higher temperatures relative to the long-term trend (eg in the 1920s), or lower temperatures (eg in the 1970s), but recovery to the average long-term trend has always occurred within a few decades.  The danger of attempting to identify meaningful temperature trends using any data of less than about 100-years duration is obvious.

 

5.  Overall, my conclusion is that this analysis confirms the known long-term global trend of increasing temperatures over the past 300 years but does not identify any recent change in temperatures that are inconsistent with what has been observed in the past.  The historical cyclic pattern indicates that temperature trends in the not-too-distant future may stabilise or even decrease and temperatures will remain consistent with their long-term trends.

 

7.  Certainly the "Cold Northern" region is getting warmer, but at a rate consistent with the cyclical trend that has been occurring over the past 300 years.  My analysis shows that this warming has not become alarming in recent years and need not be cause for undue concern.  It should be noted that all of the data that I have used are from rural or small-town locations and therefore are indicative of the situation that occurs outside of localised urban areas where most people live.

 

So there is no need for undue alarm about rising temperatures - at least not in the "cold northern" region of the world!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATION NAME

COUNTRY

LAT/LONG

MEAN ANNUAL TEMPERATURE

PERIOD OF DATA

COMPLETE YEARS

Nome

USA

64/-165

-3.2

1906-2011

102

Barrow

USA

71/-156

-12.1

1901-2011

90

Prince Albert

Canada

53/-105

+0.7

1884-2011

110

The Pas

Canada

53/-101

-0.3

1910-2011

90

Eureka

Canada

79/-85

-19.4

1947-2011

57

Moosonee

Canada

51/-80

-0.9

1877-2011

109

Godthab / Nuuk

Greenland

64/-51

-1.3

1866-2011

115

Angmagssalik

Greenland

65/-37

-1.1

1895-2011

103

Akureyri

Iceland

65/-18

+3.5

1882-2011

121

Jan Mayen

Norway

70/-8

-0.4

1921-2011

77

Bodo

Norway

67/14

+4.6

1868-2011

143

Haparanda

Sweden

65/24

+1.1

1860-2009

148

Vardo

Norway

70/31

+1.2

1829-2011

171

Vytegra

Russia

61/36

+2.7

1881-2011

93

Salehard

Russia

66/66

-6.3

1882-2011

119

Hanty-Mansijs

Russia

61/69

-1.3

1892-2011

88

Ostrov Dikson

Russia

73/80

-11.3

1916-2011

83

Kokpekty

Kazakhstan

48/82

+1.2

1894-2011

77

Turuhansk

Russia

65/87

-6.7

1881-2011

101

Enisejsk

Russia

58/92

-1.7

1871-2011

117

Kirensk

Russia

57/108

-4.0

1892-2011

94

Nercinskij Zayod

Russia

51/119

-3.4

1839-2011

137

Viljujsk

Russia

63/121

-9.1

1898-2011

99

Verhojansk

Russia

67/133

-15.3

1885-2011

105

Nikolayevsk-na-Amure

Russia

53/140

-2.3

1854-2011

122

Ohotsk

Russia

59/143

-4.6

1890-2011

86

Nikol’skoe

Russia

55/165

+2.3

1899-2011

86

Anadyr

Russia

64/177

-7.4

1898-2011

80

 

 

 

 

ANNUAL, SUMMER & WINTER MEAN TEMPERATURE TRENDS IN THE COLD NORTHERN REGION

 

The Yellow Triangle symbol is the annual mean temperature for each year (°C), with the annual mean trend line shown in Blue.

The Blue Diamond symbol is the mean temperature of the coldest month (over the long-term) for each year (°C), with the annual mean trend line shown in Red.  The coldest months is January or February at most locations, but is March at one location.

The Green Square symbol is the mean temperature of the warmest month (over the long-term) for each year (°C), with the annual mean trend line shown in Brown.  The warmest months is July at most locations, but is August at some locations.

 

Nome, USA (Alaska)   Small town, 102 complete years of data, 1906-2011

 

Barrow, USA (Alaska)   Rural, 90 complete years of data, 1901-2011  

 

 

Prince Albert, Canada   Small town, 110 complete years of data, 1884-2011

 

The Pas, Canada    Rural, 90 complete years of data, 1910-2011

 

 

Eureka, Canada   Rural, 57 complete years of data, 1947-2011

 

 

Moosonee, Canada   Rural, 109 complete years of data, 1877-2011

 

Nuuk/Godthab, Greenland   Rural, 115 complete years of data, 1866-2011

 

 

Angmagssalik, Greenland   Rural, 103 complete years of data, 1895-2011

 

 

Akureyri, Iceland   Small town, 121 complete years of data, 1882-2011

 

 

Jan Mayen, Norway (Greenland Sea)   Rural, 76 complete years of data, 1921-2011

 

Bodo, Norway   Small town, 143 complete years of data, 1868-2011

 

 

Haparanda, Sweden    Rural, 148 complete years of data, 1860-2009

 

 

Vardo, Norway   Rural, 171 complete years of data, 1829-2011

 

Vytegra, Russia     Rural, 93 complete years of data, 1881-2011

 

 

 

 

Salehard, Russia    Small town, 119 complete years of data, 1882-2011

 

 

 

 

 

Hanty-Mansijs, Russia     Small town, 88 complete years of data, 1892-2011  

 

 

   

 

Ostrov Dikson, Russia (Siberia)   Rural, 83 complete years of data, 1916-2011

 

 

 

 

Kokpekty, Kazahkstan   Rural, 77 complete years of data, 1894-2011

 

 

Turuhansk, Russia     Rural, 101 complete years of data, 1881-2011

Enisejsk, Russia (Siberia)   Small town, 117 complete years of data, 1871-20101

 

Kirensk, Russia (Siberia)   Rural, 94 complete years of data, 1892-2011

 

Nercinskij Zayod, Russia (Siberia)   Rural, 137 complete years of data, 1839-2011

 

Viljujsk, Russia (Siberia)   Rural, 99 complete years of data, 1898-2011

 

Verhojansk, Russia (Siberia)   Rural, 105 complete years of data, 1885-2011

 

Nikolayevsk-na-Amure, Russia (Siberia)    Small town, 122 complete years of data, 1854-2011

 

Ohutsk, Russia (Siberia)   Rural, 86 complete years of data, 1890-2011

 

Nikol’skoe, Russia (Siberia)   Rural, 86 complete years of data, 1899-2011

 

Anadyr, Russia (Siberia)   Rural, 80 complete years of data, 1898-2011

 

 

The Author:

This article was written by Brian Gunter of Narooma, NSW.  In his previous life Brian was an engineering hydrologist involved over many years in the analysis of rainfall and river flow data for the planning of water resources projects in Australia, Asia and Africa.  In recent years he has been one of the Marine Rescue NSW (previously Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol) volunteer weather observers who operate the Narooma station for the Bureau of Meteorology.

 

Brian Gunter

brigun@westnet.com.au

Original:  25 October 2010

Updated:  9 October 2013

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