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The Strange "Global Warming" of the Antarctic Peninsula

Reference
Franzke, C. 2013. Significant reduction of cold temperature extremes at Faraday/Vernadsky station in the Antarctic Peninsula. International Journal of Climatology 33: 1070-1078.
Antarctica is a region of the planet expected to see a great increase in temperature as a result of greenhouse gas-induced global warming. Temperatures there have been routinely measured at the Faraday/Vernadsky station on the Antarctic Peninsula ever since February of 1947; and they reveal a warming of approximately 3.8°C through January 2011, making the peninsula a veritable global warmer's paradise. But the location has one ... small ... problem. According to the study of Franzke (2013), "there is no evidence for an increase of the annual maximum temperature."

"Typically," in the words of Franzke, "one would expect that a significant warming also leads to absolute warmer temperatures and not just to a reduction in cold temperatures." But the latter is precisely what has happened at the Faraday/Vernadsky weather station: it's only the colder temperatures that have gotten warmer.

Franzke also notes that "global climate projections suggest that the frequency of hot extremes will increase due to global warming," citing Meehl et al. (2007). The models therefore also miss the mark as it applies to the Antarctic Peninsula, and to other parts of the world as well (see, for example, Kukla and Karl, 1993; Easterling et al., 1997). And thus it is that Franzke writes that the data from the Antarctic Peninsula "are somewhat at odds with the general opinion that global warming leads to more frequent and larger extremes." In fact, on the Antarctic Peninsula, Franzke finds that "annual maximum temperatures are almost constant over the last six decades," while minimum temperatures have actually gotten less extreme.

And so it is that there may not have been even a relative heat wave on the Antarctic Peninsula since the start of temperature measurements there some six and a half decades ago.

Additional References
Easterling, D.R., Horton, B., Jones, P.D., Peterson, T.C., Karl, T.R., Parker, D.E., Salinger, M.J., Razuvayev, V., Plummer, N., Jamason, P. and Folland, C.K. 1997. Maximum and minimum temperature trends for the globe. Science 277: 364-367.

Kukla, G. and Karl, T.R. 1993. Nighttime warming and the greenhouse effect. Environmental Science and Technology 27: 1468-1474.

Meehl, G.A., Stocker, T.F., Collins, W.D., Friedlingstein, P., Gaye, A.T., Gregory, J.M., Kitoh, A., Knutti, R., Murphy, J.M., Noda, A., Raper, S.C.B., Watterson, I.G., Weaver, A.J. and Zhao, Z.-C. 2007. In: IPCC Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis: Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Solomon, S., Qin, D., Manning, M., Chen, Z., Marquis, M., Averyt, K.B., Tignor, M. and Miller, H.L., Eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, pp. 747-846.

Archived 3 December 2013