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MILES, MARTIN  ESARC, Boulder, Colorado.

The subpolar North Atlantic and adjacent Arctic is a key region in the earth's ocean–ice–atmosphere system. Climate-system variability is unusually large in these regions, owing partly to interactions between the atmosphere, ocean and ice that lead to fluctuations across a range of time scales. The present understanding of interannual to multi-decadal variability comes primarily from analysis of instrumental, historical and multi-century records such as high-resolution paleo-environmental data. The number of long, high-quality observational records available from the Atlantic Arctic and adjacent areas is remarkably extensive for a high-latitude, predominantly marine environment.

The purpose here is to summarize the century-scale ocean temperature records that exist from the Faeroe Islands, Iceland and adjacent areas. The primary focus is on quantitatively establishing the reliability of the time series and the degree that these largely coastal observations may be representative of local, shelf and regional conditions. The secondary focus is to identify the linkages between sea-surface temperature in different locations and sea-ice variability evident in long time series from the Iceland–Greenland region. Resolving these issues is important for calibration and interpretation of high-resolution paleo-environmental proxy records such as from marine sediments. It is also important for documenting and understanding modes of variability, e.g., the early 20th century warming and cooling events and more recent changes observed in the Nordic Seas. Here, emphasis is placed on the winter season, when these records appear to be most representative for analyzing time scales of variability.

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