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[1] We present a reconstruction of Antarctic mean surface temperatures over the past two centuries based on water stable isotope records from high-resolution, precisely dated ice cores. Both instrumental and reconstructed temperatures indicate large interannual to decadal scale variability, with the dominant pattern being anti-phase anomalies between the main Antarctic continent and the Antarctic Peninsula region. Comparative analysis of the instrumental Southern Hemisphere (SH) mean temperature record and the reconstruction suggests that at longer timescales, temperatures over the Antarctic continent vary in phase with the SH mean. Our reconstruction suggests that Antarctic temperatures have increased by about 0.2°C since the late nineteenth century. The variability and the long-term trends are strongly modulated by the SH Annular Mode in the atmospheric circulation.