Articles | Volume 13, issue 1
Research article
16 Jan 2017
Research article |  | 16 Jan 2017

Climatic variability in Princess Elizabeth Land (East Antarctica) over the last 350 years

Alexey A. Ekaykin, Diana O. Vladimirova, Vladimir Y. Lipenkov, and Valérie Masson-Delmotte

Abstract. We use isotopic composition (δD) data from six sites in Princess Elizabeth Land (PEL) in order to reconstruct air temperature variability in this sector of East Antarctica over the last 350 years. First, we use the present-day instrumental mean annual surface air temperature data to demonstrate that the studied region (between Russia's Progress, Vostok and Mirny research stations) is characterized by uniform temperature variability. We thus construct a stacked record of the temperature anomaly for the whole sector for the period of 1958–2015. A comparison of this series with the Southern Hemisphere climatic indices shows that the short-term inter-annual temperature variability is primarily governed by the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO) and Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) modes of atmospheric variability. However, the low-frequency temperature variability (with period  >  27 years) is mainly related to the anomalies of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) mode. We then construct a stacked record of δD for the PEL for the period of 1654–2009 from individual normalized and filtered isotopic records obtained at six different sites (PEL2016 stacked record). We use a linear regression of this record and the stacked PEL temperature record (with an apparent slope of 9 ± 5.4 ‰ °C−1) to convert PEL2016 into a temperature scale. Analysis of PEL2016 shows a 1 ± 0.6 °C warming in this region over the last 3 centuries, with a particularly cold period from the mid-18th to the mid-19th century. A peak of cooling occurred in the 1840s – a feature previously observed in other Antarctic records. We reveal that PEL2016 correlates with a low-frequency component of IOD and suggest that the IOD mode influences the Antarctic climate by modulating the activity of cyclones that bring heat and moisture to Antarctica. We also compare PEL2016 with other Antarctic stacked isotopic records. This work is a contribution to the PAGES (Past Global Changes) and IPICS (International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences) Antarctica 2k projects.

Short summary
Understanding the Antarctic climate system is crucial in the context of the present-day global environmental changes, but key gaps arise from limited observations. We present a new reconstructed stacked climate record for Princess Elizabeth Land, East Antarctica. Records show 1 °C warming over the last 350 years, with a particularly cold period from the mid-18th to mid-19th century. Temperature variability with a period > 27 years is mainly related to the anomalies of the Indian Ocean Dipole mode.