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A Station-Based Southern Annular Mode Index from 1884 to 2005

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  • 1 Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften, IFM-GEOMAR, Kiel, Germany
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Abstract

Atmospheric pressure observations from the Southern Hemisphere are used to estimate monthly and annually averaged indexes of the southern annular mode (SAM) back to 1884. This analysis groups all relevant observations in the following four regions: one for Antarctica and three in the subtropical zone. Continuous surface pressure observations are available at a number of locations in the subtropical regions since the end of the nineteenth century. However, year-round observations in the subpolar region near the Antarctic continent began only during the 1940–60 period. The shorter Antarctic records seriously compromise the length of a traditionally estimated SAM index. To improve the situation “proxy” estimates of Antarctic sea level pressure anomalies are provided based on the concept of atmospheric mass conservation poleward of 20°S. This allows deriving a longer SAM index back to 1884. Several aspects of the new record, its statistical properties, seasonal trends, and the regional pressure anomaly correlations, are presented.

Corresponding author address: Martin Visbeck, Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften, IFM-GEOMAR, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, D-24105 Kiel, Germany. Email: mvisbeck@ifm-geomar.de

Abstract

Atmospheric pressure observations from the Southern Hemisphere are used to estimate monthly and annually averaged indexes of the southern annular mode (SAM) back to 1884. This analysis groups all relevant observations in the following four regions: one for Antarctica and three in the subtropical zone. Continuous surface pressure observations are available at a number of locations in the subtropical regions since the end of the nineteenth century. However, year-round observations in the subpolar region near the Antarctic continent began only during the 1940–60 period. The shorter Antarctic records seriously compromise the length of a traditionally estimated SAM index. To improve the situation “proxy” estimates of Antarctic sea level pressure anomalies are provided based on the concept of atmospheric mass conservation poleward of 20°S. This allows deriving a longer SAM index back to 1884. Several aspects of the new record, its statistical properties, seasonal trends, and the regional pressure anomaly correlations, are presented.

Corresponding author address: Martin Visbeck, Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften, IFM-GEOMAR, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, D-24105 Kiel, Germany. Email: mvisbeck@ifm-geomar.de

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