Prominent changes of the Arctic atmosphere-ice-ocean system observed in recent years have sparked intense discussions as to whether these changes represent episodic events or long-term shifts in the Arctic environment. In the past, the lack of long-term observations in the Arctic made it difficult to explore this issue. Although the length of available instrumental records is often too short to give a quantitative, statistical description of processes at multi-decadal time scales, these Arctic records, which are similar in length to the global records, provide insight into long-term variations of the Arctic climate system and suggest that high-latitude climate feedbacks merit further study.
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