Temperature changes in the mid- and high- latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere


Y. Richard, Centre de Recherches de Climatologie, CNRS/Université de Bourgogne, 6 Bd. Gabriel, 21000 Dijon, France. E-mail: yves.richard@u-bourgogne.fr


A Hierarchical Ascending Classification is used to regionalize monthly temperature anomalies measured at 24 weather stations in Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic and mid-latitude southern islands from 1973 to 2002. Three principal regions are identified that are geographically coherent: Eastern Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula and the Sub-Antarctic and mid-latitude islands. Within each region, consistent trends are observed: namely, stationary temperatures in ‘East-Antarctica’; a robust warming in the ‘Sub-Antarctic and mid-latitude islands’, most pronounced in austral summer (nearly 0.5 °C per decade); and a strong but more recent warming in the ‘Antarctic Peninsula’. Austral summer temperature anomalies are related to (1) the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) indexes computed using two reanalysis products (20th Century Reanalyses and ERA40) over two periods (1958–2002 and 1973–2002), (2) the seasonal frequencies of four recurrent daily weather regimes identified with a k-means algorithm applied on the 500hPa geopotential height (DJF 1958–2002) and (3) HadSST2 sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies (DJF 1958–2002). East-Antarctica interannual temperature anomalies are associated with the SAM variability. In the Antarctic Peninsula, only the long-term trend is common with the SAM. The SAM does impact significantly the temperature anomalies of the Sub-Antarctic and mid-latitude islands. Trend and interannual variability of the islands' temperatures are associated with the nearby SST. For the Indian Ocean stations, warming in the Agulhas Current system could also have led to these changes. Copyright © 2012 Royal Meteorological Society