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Title: Projected Changes in Daily Variability and Seasonal Cycle of Near-Surface Air Temperature over the Globe during the Twenty-First Century

Increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases will not only raise Earth’s temperature but may also change its variability and seasonal cycle. Here CMIP5 model data are analyzed to quantify these changes in surface air temperature (Tas) and investigate the underlying processes. The models capture well the mean Tas seasonal cycle and variability and their changes in reanalysis, which shows decreasing Tas seasonal amplitudes and variability over the Arctic and Southern Ocean from 1979 to 2017. Daily Tas variability and seasonal amplitude are projected to decrease in the twenty-first century at high latitudes (except for boreal summer when Tas variability increases) but increase at low latitudes. The day of the maximum or minimum Tas shows large delays over high-latitude oceans, while it changes little at low latitudes. These Tas changes at high latitudes are linked to the polar amplification of warming and sea ice loss, which cause larger warming in winter than summer due to extra heating from the ocean during the cold season. Reduced sea ice cover also decreases its ability to cause Tas variations, contributing to the decreased Tas variability at high latitudes. Over low–midlatitude oceans, larger increases in surface evaporation in winter than summer (due to strong winter more » winds, strengthened winter winds in the Southern Hemisphere, and increased winter surface humidity gradients over the Northern Hemisphere low latitudes), coupled with strong ocean mixing in winter, lead to smaller surface warming in winter than summer and thus increased seasonal amplitudes there. These changes result in narrower (wider) Tas distributions over the high (low) latitudes, which may have important implications for other related fields.

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Award ID(s):
1743738 1353740
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of Climate
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 8537-8561
American Meteorological Society
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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