The national meteorological institutes in the Nordic countries have produced a comprehensive dataset of climatic extreme temperatures (monthly mean daily maximum and minimum, and monthly absolute highest and lowest temperatures) comprising stations from Fenno––Scandia, the Nordic Seas, and Greenland. Mean maximum and minimum temperatures show statistically significant negative trends in western coastal Greenland during the period 1950––95, while over the Nordic Seas and Fenno––Scandia the trends are generally positive. The diurnal temperature range (DTR) is decreasing significantly throughout the study area and is unrelated to regional temperature trends, which show both warming and cooling. The opposite temperature trends between western coastal Greenland and Fenno––Scandia since the 1950s are in accordance with a strengthening of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). However, the simple NAO index fails to explain the decrease of DTR. In Fenno––Scandia, the reliable long-term mean maximum and minimum temperatures show cooling in winter and warming in spring and summer during the period 1910––95. Simultaneously, DTR has been decreasing in all seasons except winter. Most of the decrease has occurred since the 1940s. Atmospheric circulation indices defined by zonal and meridional sea level pressure differences, along with sea level pressure and cloud cover anomalies were used to build a multiple linear regression model for the Fenno––Scandian DTR. During the period 1910––95 the model explains from 53%% (winter) to 80%% (summer) of the variation in DTR and reproduces the statistically significant decreasing trend on annual level. Cloud cover is the dominant predictor, while circulation provides substantial improvement in explanation.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Aug 17, 1998
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