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Keywords:

  • Antarctic warming;
  • extremes;
  • Faraday station;
  • Vernadsky station

Abstract

This study examines the daily observed temperature at the Faraday/Vernadsky station in the Antarctic Peninsula for the period February 1947 through January 2011. Faraday/Vernadsky is experiencing a significant warming trend of about 0.6 °C/decade over the last few decades. Concurrently, the magnitude of extremely cold temperatures has reduced while there is no evidence for an increase of the annual maximum temperature. An empirical mode decomposition reveals that most of the temperature variability occurs on intraannual time scales and that changes in the magnitude of the annual cycle can be explained by a simple periodic stochastic process. Extremely cold temperatures below a threshold follow a generalised Pareto distribution (GPD) with a negative shape parameter and thus are bounded. We find that the extremely cold behaviour in the first half of the record is significantly different from the second half. At the same time there is no evident increase of warm temperatures or in the location of the maximum of the temperature probability distribution. These findings provide evidence that at Faraday/Vernadsky, it is the change in the shape of the temperature distribution that has substantially contributed to the observed warming over the last few decades. Furthermore, we find evidence for clustering of extreme cold events and show that they are predictable a few days in advance using a precursor-based prediction scheme. Copyright © 2012 Royal Meteorological Society