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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 6, issue 3 | Copyright
Clim. Past, 6, 315-324, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-6-315-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  21 May 2010

21 May 2010

Arctic marine climate of the early nineteenth century

P. Brohan1, C. Ward2, G. Willetts1, C. Wilkinson3, R. Allan1, and D. Wheeler2 P. Brohan et al.
  • 1Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK
  • 2Sunderland University, Sunderland, UK
  • 3University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

Abstract. The climate of the early nineteenth century is likely to have been significantly cooler than that of today, as it was a period of low solar activity (the Dalton minimum) and followed a series of large volcanic eruptions. Proxy reconstructions of the temperature of the period do not agree well on the size of the temperature change, so other observational records from the period are particularly valuable. Weather observations have been extracted from the reports of the noted whaling captain William Scoresby Jr., and from the records of a series of Royal Navy expeditions to the Arctic, preserved in the UK National Archives. They demonstrate that marine climate in 1810–1825 was marked by consistently cold summers, with abundant sea-ice. But although the period was significantly colder than the modern average, there was considerable variability: in the Greenland Sea the summers following the Tambora eruption (1816 and 1817) were noticeably warmer, and had less sea-ice coverage, than the years immediately preceding them; and the sea-ice coverage in Lancaster Sound in 1819 and 1820 was low even by modern standards.

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