Climate Dynamics

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 537–554 | Cite as

Interannual summer air temperature variability over Greece and its connection to the large-scale atmospheric circulation and Mediterranean SSTs 1950–1999

  •  E. Xoplaki
  •  J. González-Rouco
  •  D. Gyalistras
  •  J. Luterbacher
  •  R. Rickli
  •  H. Wanner

Abstract.

The interannual and decadal variability of summer (June to September) air temperature in the northeastern Mediterranean is analysed for the period 1950 to 1999. Extremely hot and cool summers are illustrated by means of composite analysis. The combined influence of the large-scale atmospheric circulation and thermic predictors on local temperature is assessed by means of an objective approach based on empirical orthogonal functions and canonical correlation analysis. Monthly values of sea level pressure, geopotential heights, atmospheric thickness and Mediterranean sea surface temperatures are used as predictor fields and air temperature from 24 observational sites spread over Greece and western Turkey constitute the predictand variable. Results indicate that more than 50% of the total summer temperature variability can be explained linearly by the combination of eight large-scale predictor fields on two canonical correlation modes. The first canonical mode is related to a more meridional circulation at the upper tropospheric levels, which favours local land–sea contrasts in the associated local temperature pattern. Variations of this mode are found to be responsible for the occurrence of extreme events and decadal trends in regional temperature, the latter being characterized by a cooling in the early 1960s and a warming in the early 1990s. The second canonical mode pictures variations in the intensity of the zonal circulation over the Atlantic area that drive temperature anomalies affecting mainly the Aegean Sea and the west of Greece. Our results suggest the potential of statistical downscaling for Greek summer temperature with reliable climate forecasts for planetary-scale anomalies.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  •  E. Xoplaki
    • 1
  •  J. González-Rouco
    • 2
  •  D. Gyalistras
    • 1
  •  J. Luterbacher
    • 1
  •  R. Rickli
    • 3
  •  H. Wanner
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Hallerstrasse 12, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  2. 2.Institute for Coastal Research, GKSS, Geesthacht, Germany
  3. 3.Meteotest, Bern, Switzerland

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