Historical Climate and Weather

    Arctic Sea Ice at Record Lows

    This video clip shows the 2008 Arctic sea ice melt during the summer season.  Scientists explain how the ice is melting and what trends we could see if the melting continues.  (3 minutes 20 seconds)

    Evidence and implications of recent climate change in northern Alaska and other Arctic regions

    L.D. Hinzman et al. Climatic Change (2005) 72(3):251-298. This study supports ongoing efforts to strengthen the interdisciplinarity of arctic system science and improve the coupling of large-scale experimental manipulation with sustained time series observations by incorporating and integrating novel technologies, remote sensing and modeling. (PDF, 1.53 MB)

    Impacts of large-scale atmospheric-ocean variability on Alaskan fire season severity

    P.A. Duffy et al. Ecological Applications (2005) 15(4):1317-1330. Records from the past 53 years reveal high variability in the annual area burned in Alaska and corresponding high variability in weather occurring at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Here the authors use multiple linear regression (MLR) to systematically explore the relationships between weather variables and the annual area burned in Alaska.

    Is the climate warming or cooling?

    D.R. Easterling, M.F. Wehner. Geophysical Research Letters (2009) doi:10.1029/2009GL037810. Numerous websites, blogs and articles in the media have claimed that the climate is no longer warming, and is now cooling. Here, the authors show that the climate over the 21st century can, and likely will, produce periods of a decade or two where the globally averaged surface air temperature shows no trend or even slight cooling in the presence of longer-term warming. (PDF, 246 KB)

    Old weather data aids climate science—one ship at a time

    J. Pinkowski, OnEarth, June 7, 2011. By trawling through World War I-era naval logs for forgotten storms, citizen scientists help make global climate models more precise.

    Past climate variability and change in the Arctic and at high latitudes

    A report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, January 2009. This is part of a series of 21 Synthesis and Assessment Products (SAPs) aimed at providing current assessments of climate change science to inform public debate, policy, and operational decisions. (PDF, 17.62 MB)

    Recent changes in the climate: Natural or forced by human activity?

    W. Karlén. Ambio (2008) 37(sp14):483-488. A distinction between trends and variability in climate is only possible if long-term records can be studied. Greenland ice core data yield well-dated information about climate over an extended period that, seen together with other data series, indicates that large, probably global scale changes have occurred at numerous times in the past. The warming during the past 100 years is not likely to be unique.

    Ship logs help scientists trace oceans' warming

    NPR's "Morning Edition," May 6, 2010. Most of global warming has actually been warming of the oceans, and it's been quite a challenge to document that change over the past century. But starting back in 1993, Sydney Levitus headed up an international effort to gather whatever historical records he could find.

    Soot influences Arctic climate

    BBC News, August 10, 2007. Measurements from ice cores suggest that soot released by industrial activities has influenced climate change in the Arctic.

    Spatial and temporal temperature change in the Arctic basin since 1994: Assessment of localized short-term data sets

    K.R. Mountain et al. Polar Geography (2001) 25(1):1-21. The daily averaged temperatures from 1994 to the year 2000 for the high Arctic stations of Alert, Resolute, Eureka, and Thule Air Base are investigated to assess both regional temperature variability and temperature trends.

    Sunderland experts study 18th-century Arctic voyages

    BBC News, December 23, 2010. A team from Sunderland University will study records kept by explorers, whalers, and merchants during trips that took place up to 260 years ago. They want to see if the logs provide clues about the ice levels in the area at that time.

    The Anthropocene: Are humans now overwhelming the great forces of nature?

    W. Steffen et al. Ambio (2007) 36(8):614-621. Global warming and many other human-driven changes to the environment are raising concerns about the future of Earth's environment and its ability to provide the services required to maintain viable human civilizations. The consequences of this unintended experiment of humankind on its own life support system are hotly debated, but worst-case scenarios paint a gloomy picture for the future of contemporary societies.

    The early twentieth-century warming in the Arctic—A possible mechanism

    Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Report No. 345, 2003. Four possible mechanisms, individually or in combination, contributed to the early 20th-century Arctic warming: anthropogenic effects, increased solar irradiation, reduced volcanic activity, and internal variability of the climate system. It seems unlikely that anthropogenic forcing on its own could have caused the warming. (PDF, 2.1 MB)

    Twentieth-century variations in temperature and precipitation in the Nordic Arctic

    E.J. Førland et al. Polar Record (2002) 38(206):203-210. In a joint Nordic effort, a high-quality climate data set for the Nordic Arctic is established. The data set consists of monthly values from 20 stations in Greenland, Iceland, the Faeroes, and the Norwegian Arctic. Ten climate elements are included, and most of the series covers the period 1890-2000.

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