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High-Frequency Air Temperature Variability in the Arctic
Przybylak, R. 2002. Changes in seasonal and annual high-frequency air temperature variability in the Arctic from 1951-1990. International Journal of Climatology 22: 1017-1032.

What was done
The author conducted a detailed analysis of intraseasonal (within season) and interannual (between years) variability in maximum, minimum and average air temperature and diurnal air temperature range for the entire Arctic - as delineated by Treshnikov (1985) - for the period 1951-1990, based on data from ten stations "representing the majority of the climatic regions in the Arctic."

What was learned
In the words of the author, "trends in both the intraseasonal and interannual temperature variability of the temperature variables studied do not show any significant changes."

What it means
The author concludes that "this aspect of climate change, as well as trends in average seasonal and annual values of temperature investigated earlier (Przybylak, 1997, 2000), proves that, in the Arctic in the period 1951-90, no tangible manifestations of the greenhouse effect can be identified." On the other hand, he reports that "a more recent analysis of mean seasonal and annual air-temperature trends in the Arctic (Przybylak, in press) shows that in the mid-1990s there occurred quite a large rise in air temperature," such that "the areally averaged annual air temperature for the whole Arctic for the last 5 year period of the 20th century was the warmest since 1950 (1.0C above the 1951-90 average)." Clearly, however, such a rapid and anomalous spike in air temperature is also not what is predicted to occur in response to the known history of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Hence, with respect to the question of what real-world Arctic air temperatures have to tell us about anthropogenic-induced global warming, the answer is nothing: the elusive phenomenon simply cannot be seen in the data.

Przybylak, R. 1997. Spatial and temporal changes in extreme air temperatures in the Arctic over the period 1951-1990. International Journal of Climatology 17: 615-634.

Przybylak, R. 2000. Temporal and spatial variation of air temperature over the period of instrumental observations in the Arctic. International Journal of Climatology 20: 587-614.

Treshnikov, A.F. (Ed.). 1985. Atlas Arktiki. Glavnoye Upravlenye Geodeziy i Kartografiy, Moskva.

Reviewed 4 December 2002