Climate projections in the Hornsund area, Southern Spitsbergen

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to provide an estimation of climate variability in the Hornsund area in Southern Spitsbergen in the period 1976-2100. The climatic variables were obtained from the Polar-CORDEX initiative in the form of time series of daily air temperature and precipitation derived from four global circulation models (GCMs) following representative concentration pathways (RCP) RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 emission scenarios. In the first stage of the analysis, simulations for the reference period from 1979 to 2005 were compared with observations at the Polish Polar Station Hornsund from the same period of time. In the second step, climatic projections were derived and monthly and annual means/sums were analysed as climatic indices. Following the standard methods of trend analysis, the changes of these indices over three time periods - the reference period 1976-2005, the near-future period 2021-2050, and far-future period 2071-2100 - were examined. The projections of air temperature were consistent. All analysed climate models simulated an increase of air temperature with time. Analyses of changes at a monthly scale indicated that the largest increases were estimated for winter months (more than 11°C for the far future using the RCP 8.5 scenario). The analyses of monthly and annual sums of precipitation also indicated increasing tendencies for changes with time, with the differences between mean monthly sums of precipitation for the near future and the reference period similar for each months. In the case of changes between far future and reference periods, the highest increases were projected for the winter months.

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