Skip to content

Analysis Of Antarctic Peninsula Temperature Trends

August 6, 2014

By Paul Homewood


It is commonly known that the Antarctic Peninsula has seen substantial warming in the last few decades. Jim Steele wrote a guest post for WUWT a couple of days ago,  “The Greatest Climate Myths of All”, which contained these observations about Antarctica:


As seen in NASA’s map of regional warming, the Antarctic Peninsula is another unusual “hotspot”, but relative to other climate dynamics, the contribution from CO2 is again not readily apparent. Stronger winds from the positive phase of the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO) increased regional temperatures without adding heat via 2 mechanisms.

First stronger winds from the north reduced sea ice extent by inhibiting the expansion of sea ice along the western Antarctic Peninsula and Amundsen Sea.  As in the Arctic, more open water allows larger amounts of stored heat to escape, dramatically raising winter temperatures. Accordingly, during the summer when sea ice is normally absent, there is no steep warming trend.

The eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula behaves in a contrary manner. There sea ice was not reduced and surface temperatures average 5 to 10° cooler, and the steep winter warming trend was not observed. However there was a significant summer warming trend. Previously during the negative phase of the AAO, weaker winds are typically forced to go around the mountainous peninsula. However the positive AAO generated a wind regime that moved up and over the mountains, creating anomalous foehn storms on the eastern side of the peninsula. As the winds descend, temperatures adiabatically rise 10 to 20 degrees or more due to changes in pressure without any additional heat.



 I cannot comment on the science behind this, but I can show how the actual temperature records support what Jim says.

Let’s start with the western side, where we have two long running stations, the two British Antarctic Research stations of Rothera and Faraday.



 Rothera 67.34S 68.08W



Faraday 65.15S 64.16W


First, winter temperatures, using GISS data. There is a clear and sizeable upward trend.





And now summer. The trend at Rothera is slightly down, and at Faraday slightly up. (Note, though, the differences in scale to the winter graphs – at Faraday, for instance, we are only looking at a trend of less than half a degree in summer.)







Crossing to the other side of the Peninsula, we find the station of do Marambio on the eastern side.



do Marambio 64.24S 56.62W



In stark contrast to Rothera and Faraday, winter temperatures at the Argentine station of do Marambio are actually declining.




Whilst in summer temperatures are increasing.






The numbers certainly support Jim Steele’s arguments, and suggest that it is regional factors that have led to recent warming there.




Temperature data is from SCAR datasets (Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research), available via GISS.

  1. James Marusek permalink
    August 6, 2014 11:45 am

    I wonder if anyone factored in the effects of earth’s magnetic mini pole reversal, known as the South Atlantic Anomaly. As the earth’s magnetic field weakens, it allows more cosmic rays to penetrate our atmosphere and can trip off increased cloud formation.

  2. A C Osborn permalink
    August 6, 2014 2:17 pm

    Paul, GISS?
    Raw or mangled?

  3. August 6, 2014 2:31 pm

    There are some funny problems with both stations

  4. August 6, 2014 2:36 pm

    From GISS GHCN3 site:

    Rothera Point:

    We have two sets of temperatures, one 1946-2014 and the other one 1976-2014; the last one looks tampered with


    We have two sets of temperatures too: one 1970-20145 and the other 1970-2014!. Of course, one of them has obviously been tampered with.

    But anyway, none of them show warming. On the contrary, all of them show cooling since at least 1990.

    So… where is that supposed warming in the last few decades?

    • August 6, 2014 5:05 pm

      The first record, ending in “0” is the GHCN number.

      The next, ending “8”, is the SCAR data ( Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research). It is this I have used.

      I have previously asked Reto Ruedy at GISS why the numbers are different. He does not know!!

  5. August 6, 2014 2:37 pm

    Errata at Cms_vice.Do.Marambio: both sets are 1970-2014

  6. August 7, 2014 1:33 am

    Reblogged this on the WeatherAction Blog.

  7. tom0mason permalink
    August 8, 2014 6:06 am

    A little OT here but

    Thirteen members of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) were trapped and in danger of freezing to death when their base, Halley VI, lost power. Power went down on July 30th and is now partially restored. The BAS waited to report the incident until power came back up, however now reports that the incident was so serious that all science activities have been suspended and emergency contingency plans to abandon some of Halley’s eight modules and attempt to shelter in a remaining few have been prepared.
    One Survey member, Anthony Lister, managed to send a out a “tweet” when power came back up, reporting that the outage occurred while the station was experiencing record cold temperatures of -55.4° C (-67.72° F).

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: