New article published!

Air temperature in Novaya Zemlya Archipelago and Vaygach Island from 1832 to 1920 in the light of early instrumental data 

Rajmund Przybylak & Przemysław Wyszyński, 


In this article, the results of an investigation into the air temperature conditions in Novaya Zemlya Archipelago and Vaygach Island (NZR) from 1832 to 1920, on the basis of all available early instrumental data gathered during exploratory and scientific expeditions, are presented. Traditional analysis based on mean monthly data was supplemented by an approach less popular in the scientific literature, i.e. the additional use of daily data. Moreover, the daily data used were not limited only to mean daily air temperature, but include also maximum daily temperature, minimum daily temperature and diurnal temperature range. Such rich sets of data allowed for more comprehensive and precise recognition of air temperature conditions in the NZR. Based on these kinds of daily data, it was also possible to calculate the number of so-called ‘characteristic days’ (i.e. the number of days with temperatures exceeding specified thresholds) and day-to-day temperature variability and, for the first time, to determine different characteristics of thermal seasons (duration, onset and end dates) according to Baranowski’s (1968) proposition. The results were compared with contemporary temperature conditions (1981–2010) to estimate the range of their changes between historical and present times.

Analysis reveals that in 1832–1920, the NZR was markedly colder than today in all seasons. Coldest was autumn (on average by ca 5 °C), and least – summer (by 1.6 °C). Mean annual air temperature was colder than today by about 3 °C. The majority of mean monthly air temperatures in historical times lie within two standard deviations from the modern mean. This means that values of air temperature in historical times lie within the range of contemporary air temperature variability. Different air temperature characteristics calculated on the basis of daily data for the NZR for historical/contemporary periods also confirm the occurrence of climate warming between the studied periods.

Arctic; air temperature; early instrumental data

Citation: Przybylak, R. and Wyszyński, P. (2017), Air temperature in Novaya Zemlya Archipelago and Vaygach Island from 1832 to 1920 in the light of early instrumental data. Int. J. Climatol. 37: 3491-3508. doi: 10.1002/joc.4934 

Version of Record online: 28 NOV 2016



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New article published!

Air temperature variations and gradients along the coast and fjords of western Spitsbergen

Herdis M. Gjelten, Øyvind Nordli, Ketil Isaksen, Eirik J. Førland, Pavel N. Sviashchennikov, Przemyslaw Wyszynski, Uliana V. Prokhorova, Rajmund Przybylak, Boris V. Ivanov & Alexandra V. Urazgildeeva


Daily temperature measurements from six meteorological stations along the coast and fjords of western Spitsbergen have been digitized and quality controlled in a Norwegian, Russian and Polish collaboration. Complete daily data series have been reconstructed back to 1948 for all of the stations. One of the station’s monthly temperature series has previously been extended back to 1898 and is included in this study. The long-term series show large temperature variability on western Spitsbergen with colder periods in the 1910s and 1960s and warmer periods in the 1930s, 1950s and in the 21st century. The most recent years are the warmest ones in the instrumental records. There is a positive and statistically significant trend in the annual times series for all of the stations; however, the strongest warming is seen in winter and spring. For the period 1979–2015, the linear trends range from 1.0 to 1.3°C/decade for the annual series and from 2.0 to 2.3°C/decade in winter. Threshold statistics demonstrate a decrease in the number of cold days per year and an increase in the number of warm days. A decreasing inter-annual variability is observed. In winter, spring and autumn, the stations in the northernmost areas of west Spitsbergen and in the innermost parts of Isfjorden are the coldest ones. In summer, however, the southernmost station is the coldest one.

Svalbard; Arctic; trends; development; warming; temperature changes.

Citation: Polar Research 2016, 35, 29878,

Copyright: © 2016 H.M. Gjelten et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, permitting all non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published: 29 July 2016


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ASSW 2016

Arctic Science Summit Week is the annual gathering of international scientists and policymakers who advance Arctic research. Through separate but related meetings and events, the Summit provides opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science.

The ASSW 2016 was held in Fairbanks (Alaska, US) on March 12-18, 2016 and included the 3rd Biennial Arctic Observing Summit (AOS 2016)

Our contribution to the ASSW and AOS 2016:


Przemysław Wyszyński¹,  Daniel Klaus²,  Klaus Dethloff²,  Rajmund Przybylak¹,  Annette Rinke² and Dörthe Handorf²

¹ – Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Poland

² – Alfred Wegener Institute, Potsdam, Germany


The HIRHAM5 regional climate model, developed at the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), with its pan-Arctic domain (including most areas north of 60N) was initialized and run over the time period from January 1, 1915 to December 31, 1940 with 6-hourly “NOAA-CIRES Twentieth Century Global Reanalysis Version 2” (20CRv2) forcing at the lateral boundaries. Sea-ice concentration and sea-surface temperature were prescribed based on daily 20CRv2 fields. Historical surface-based observations for the Arctic were collected and transcribed by Nicolaus Copernicus University (NCU) within various data-retrieval projects (e.g. AWAKE, AWAKE-2, ArcRu).  With the aid of the 6-hourly HIRHAM5 model output, 20CRv2 reanalysis data, and surface-based observations carried out at Franz Josef Land stations, e.g. Tikhaya Bay (52.8E, 80.32N), the reproducibility of the early Arctic warming has been checked. Both the model and reanalysis have been evaluated by comparison with the measured sea level pressure, 2m air temperature, 2m specific humidity, and 10m wind speed. More importantly, the vertical baroclinic structure of the atmosphere has been analyzed by use of radiosonde data that have been acquired in the framework of ERA-CLIM.  Finally, the upgraded Twentieth Century Global Reanalysis dataset (20CRv2c), has been also taken into account. The latter was improved not only by assimilating additional surface pressure data (e.g. from Teplitz Bay 1899-1900, provided by NCU) but also by using the Centennial Observation-Based Estimates of SST version 2 (COBE-SST2) instead of the Hadley Centre Sea Ice and Sea Surface Temperature data set (HadISST1.1) to prescribe sea-surface temperature and sea-ice concentration. It can be expected that HIRHAM5 performs equally well as the 20CRv2 data, but it is unclear whether the model is even able to reproduce the station observations with the same quality as the improved 20CRv2c (corrected 20CRv2) reanalysis data. If the model has the skill to perform comparably or even better than 20CRv2c this might give evidence of a more realistic simulation of Arctic clouds, which will be checked as well.  Acknowledgements: The research work was supported by a grant funded by the National Science Centre by decision No. DEC-2012/07/B/ST10/04002.

Moreover Przemek attended the meeting of the Atmospheric Working Group of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC)

AWG group picture_ASSW_2016

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ArcRu FrostByte

This video is part of a larger collection of FrostBytes. Soundbytes of “cool” research a collaborative project between the Climate and Cryosphere Project (CliC) and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS).

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by | May 18, 2015 · 12:28 PM

ASSW 2015

The Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) is the annual gathering of the international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. The purpose of the summit is to provide opportunities for coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science.
The summit attracts scientists, students, policy makers and other
professionals from all over the world.

The ASSW 2015 was held in Toyama (Japan) on April 23-30, 2015 and included the Fourth International Symposium on the Arctic Research (ISAR-4) and the Third International Conference on the Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III)

“Conference Statement” can be found by clicking here.

Our contribution to the ASSW 2015:


Ref# A02-P01

Ref# A02-P02

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New article published!

Variability of humidity conditions in the Arctic during the first International Polar Year, 1882-83

Przemysław Wyszyński & Rajmund Przybylak

Of all the early instrumental data for the Arctic, the meteorological data gathered during the first International Polar Year, in 1882–83 (IPY-1), are the best in terms of coverage, quality and resolution. Research carried out during IPY-1 scientific expeditions brought a significant contribution to the development of hygrometry in polar regions at the end of the 19th century. The present paper gives a detailed analysis of a unique series of humidity measurements that were carried out during IPY-1 at hourly resolutions at nine meteorological stations, relatively evenly distributed in the High Arctic. It gives an overall view of the humidity conditions prevalent in the Arctic at that time. The results show that the spatial distribution of atmospheric water vapour pressure (e) and relative humidity (RH) in the Arctic during IPY-1 was similar to the present. In the annual course the highest values of e were noted in July and August, while the lowest occurred in the cold half of the year. In comparison to present-day conditions (1961–1990), the mean values of RH in the IPY-1 period (September 1882 to July 1883) were higher by 2.4–5.6%. Most of the changes observed between historical and modern RH values are not significant. The majority of historical daily RH values lie between a distance of less than two standard deviations from current long-term monthly means.

Humidity conditions; Arctic; early instrumental period; historical climatology.

(Published: 8 September 2014)

Polar Research 2014. © 2014 P. Wyszyński & R. Przybylak. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License (, permitting all non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Citation: Polar Research 2014, 33, 23896,



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More data transcribed! Franz Josef Land Expedition 1881-1882 of the ‘Eira’ under the leadership of Leigh Smith.

Leigh Smith went ashore near Cape Flora, and then tried to find a path eastwards in the hope of locating any traces of the lost Jeannette expedition. The Jeannette had been crushed by the ice just as Eira was departing Peterhead for the 1881 expedition, and resolving the fate of the men of the Jeannette was very much on Leigh Smith’s mind as he explored the islands of Franz Josef Land. Finding the way blocked by ice, Eira continued to be moored to the fast ice east of Cape Flora, bows facing westwards, while Neale and Leigh Smith occupied several Days in scouring the surrounding cliffs for fossils and plant specimens and the crew dredged the waters off the cape to bring up samples from the bottom sediments. The weather was calm, but there were definite hints of impending disaster. The captain’s log on Friday, August 19th, notes the “pack ice close round the ship.” (Cappelloti  2013, p. 182)


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Capelotti P.J. 2013   Shipwreck at Cape Flora [electronic resource] : the expeditions of Benjamin Leigh Smith, England’s forgotten Arctic explorer. Northern lights series, 1925-2943 ; 16. University of Calgary Press.

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