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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 175296, 14 pages
Research Article

Spectral Analysis of the Svalbard Temperature Record 1912–2010

1Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1047 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway
2Department of Geology, University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), P.O. Box 156, N-9171 Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway
3Department of Physics and Technology, University of Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway
4Telenor Norway, Finance, N-1331 Fornebu, Norway

Received 14 September 2011; Revised 14 December 2011; Accepted 20 December 2011

Academic Editor: Igor N. Esau

Copyright © 2011 Ole Humlum et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Climate development with possible anthropogenic effects occurs on a background of natural climatic variations, which may be considerable, and especially in the Arctic. Natural climate variations however remain poorly understood, although they remain important for discriminating between natural and anthropogenic influences on current climate change. Using the Svalbard (78°N) surface air temperature record 1912–2010 as an example, we here suggest a road ahead to identify and describe such natural climate variations. By means of Fourier and wavelet analysis the record is decomposed into time-frequency space, to extract information on periodic signals and their amplitude and variation over time. By this we identify several cyclic variations on the time scale investigated. These oscillations are present in the annual record, as well as in seasonal subsets of the record. Using only three oscillations it is possible to hindcast the Svalbard temperature record well. We suggest that such persistent oscillations may be used for forecasting the overall features of future temperature changes for a limited period, about 10–25% of the record length. Our main focus is on identifying the character of recurrent natural temperature variations, but we also comment briefly on possible physical explanations for some of the identified cyclic variations.