Southern hemisphere pressure relationships during the 20th century-implications for climate reconstructions and model evaluation

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© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. The relationship between Southern Hemisphere middle and high-latitude regions has made it possible to generate observationally-based Antarctic pressure reconstructions throughout the 20th century, even though routinely collected observations for this continent only began around 1957. While nearly all reconstructions inherently assume stability in these relationships through time and in the absence of direct observations, this stationarity constraint can be fully tested in a model setting. Seasonal pressure reconstructions based on the principal component regression (PCR) method spanning 1905-2013 are done entirely within the framework of the Community Atmospheric version 5 (CAM5) model in this study in order to evaluate this assumption, test the robustness of the PCR procedure for Antarctic pressure reconstructions and to evaluate the CAM5 model. Notably, the CAM5 reconstructions outperformed the observationally-based reconstruction in every season except the austral summer. Other tests indicate that relationships between Antarctic pressure and pressure across the Southern Hemisphere remain stable throughout the 20th century in CAM5. In contrast, 20th century reanalyses all display marked changes in mid-to-high latitude pressure relationships in the early 20th century. Overall, comparisons indicate both the CAM5 model and the pressure reconstructions evaluated here are reliable estimates of Antarctic pressure throughout the 20th century, with the largest differences between the two resulting from differences in the underlying reconstruction predictor networks and not from changes in the model experiments.