Variability of humidity conditions in the Arctic during the first International Polar Year, 1882-83
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.
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Keywords: Humidity conditions; Arctic; early instrumental period; historical climatology
(Published: 8 September 2014)
Citation: Polar Research 2014, 33, 23896, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v33.23896
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Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to the Norwegian Polar Institute.