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

  • Herdis M. Gjelten Norwegian Meteorological Institute
  • Øyvind Nordli Norwegian Meteorological Institute
  • Ketil Isaksen Norwegian Meteorological Institute
  • Eirik J. Førland Norwegian Meteorological Institute
  • Pavel N. Sviashchennikov St. Petersburg State University
  • Przemyslaw Wyszynski Nicolaus Copernicus University
  • Uliana V. Prokhorova Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute
  • Rajmund Przybylak Nicolaus Copernicus University
  • Boris V. Ivanov Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute
  • Alexandra V. Urazgildeeva Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute
Keywords: Svalbard, Arctic, trends, development, warming, temperature changes


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.

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

(Published: 29 July 2016)

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Citation: Polar Research 2016, 35, 29878,


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How to Cite
Gjelten H. M., Nordli Øyvind, Isaksen K., Førland E. J., Sviashchennikov P. N., Wyszynski P., Prokhorova U. V., Przybylak R., Ivanov B. V., & Urazgildeeva A. V. (2016). Air temperature variations and gradients along the coast and fjords of western Spitsbergen. Polar Research, 35.
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