An analysis of Icelandic climate since the nineteenth century

Hanna, E. and Jansson, T. and Box, J. E. (2004) An analysis of Icelandic climate since the nineteenth century. International Journal of Climatology, 24 (10). pp. 1193-1210. ISSN 0899-8418

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

New, long monthly series of Icelandic air pressure, temperature, precipitation and sunshine data are presented and analysed to determine possible evidence of recent climatic changes in Iceland. Climatic series are compared with the North Atlantic oscillation (NAO) indices; Icelandic temperature and precipitation are moderately but significantly correlated with the NAO. An updated south-north Iceland temperature index is discussed in relation to 20th century reductions in sea-ice coverage. Net warming over Iceland occurred over all long-term records from the mid 19th century to the present, consistent with observed global warming trends, but superimposed on this was a marked cooling between the 1940s and early 1980s; Icelandic warming resumed around 1985. The mid-late 20th century cooling is in agreement with observed cooling in southern Greenland, suggesting that large-scale changes in atmospheric circulation were probably responsible. The 1930s was the warmest decade of the 20th century in Iceland, in contrast to the Northern Hemisphere land average. There was a distinct 20th century dipole in temperatures between Iceland and northwestern Europe, with 1941 serving as an extreme year, i.e. cold Europe and warm Iceland and Greenland. There are also signs of a precipitation increase since the late 19th century, although this is significant for only one out of three stations. Moreover, precipitation rates exhibit a positive correlation with temperature. There were no statistically significant overall long-term changes in pressure or sunshine duration. However, there are statistically significant negative correlations of precipitation with the sunshine data. There is evidence of possible solar forcing of Icelandic temperature and pressure. Results from the analysis aid our understanding of recent and ongoing changes in Icelandic and North Atlantic climate. The results should help us interpret these changes in the context of larger scale atmospheric/subpolar variability and future climate-change predictions. © 2004 Royal Meteorological Society.

Keywords:Atmospherics, Cooling, Oscillations, Precipitation (meteorology), Pressure effects, Statistical methods, Thermal effects, Iceland, North Atlantic, North Atlantic oscillations (NAO), Sunshines, Climatology, atmospheric circulation, climate change, global warming, nineteenth century, North Atlantic Oscillation, precipitation (climatology), regional climate, temperature, Arctic, Iceland
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F890 Geographical and Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Science > School of Geography
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ID Code:26064
Deposited On:21 Feb 2017 17:19

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