State of Environment

Indicator 1 - Monthly mean air temperatures at Australian Antarctic Stations

Index: Description | Data | Custodian evaluation | Related resources | Parameters


Indicator Definition
Monthly means of three-hourly temperatures for Australian Antarctic stations
Casey, Davis, Mawson and Macquarie Island.

Responsible organisation

Bureau of Meteorology, Department of the Environment and Heritage ( Australia )


No custodians.

Theme area


Indicator type


Criteria the indicator satisfies

The following 12 out of 15 criteria

1. Serve as a robust indicator of environmental change
2. Reflect a fundamental or highly-valued aspect of the environment or an important environmental issue
3. Be either national in scope or applicable to regional environmental issues of national significance
4. Provide an early warning of potential problems
5. Be capable of being monitored to provide statistically verifiable and reproducible data that shows trends over time and, preferably, apply to a broad range of environmental regions
6. Be scientifically credible
7. Be easy to understand
8. Be monitored with relative ease
9. Be cost-effective
11. Contribute to monitoring of progress towards implementing commitments in nationally important environmental policies
13. Contribute to the fulfillment of reporting obligations under international agreements
15. Where possible and appropriate, be consistent and comparable with other countries� and state and territory indicators

Date input

Monthly measurements

Monitoring location

Geographic coverage

Rationale For Indicator Selection
Global climate models show warming in response to increased greenhouse gas
(carbon dioxide, methane etc) concentrations in the atmosphere; this is called
the "enhanced greenhouse effect". Because of this, there is interest in
observations of temperature across the globe, including Antarctica. Extensive
high-quality observations from fixed locations are essential to serve as
direct indicators of temperature changes and also confirm climate model

Design and Strategy For Indicator Monitoring Program
Spatial Scale: Australian Antarctic stations: Casey (lat 66¿ 16' 54.5" S,
long 110¿ 31' 39.4" E), Davis (lat 68¿ 34' 35.8" S, long 77¿ 58' 02.6" E),
Mawson (lat 67¿ 36' 09.7" S, long 62¿ 52' 25.7" E) and Macquarie Island
(lat 54¿ 37' 59.9" S, long 158¿ 52' 59.9" E).

Frequency: Monthly

Measurement Technique: Thermometry

Research Issues
There is need to develop a high-quality data set from the available data,
correcting erroneous data and estimating missing data. Adjustment may be
necessary for changes in site location or exposure, and for changes in
instrumentation or observing practices.

Some of these changes are documented in the station history files held by the
Regional Observations Section. These history files are currently held as paper
records, although more recent information is held electronically and there is
an effort to digitise the older records.

Before the data can be used for the detection of change, a concerted effort
will need to be made to identify deficiencies in the data, and then make
compensations where possible. This is made more difficult by the lack of
suitable comparison sites.


Temporal range of the available data, as described by the metadata record, is from 01-Apr-1948 .

April-1948 to March-2020
Number of data points

To view or download any of the data, you must be logged in

Data quality, interpretation and analysis of indicator data

Data usage constraints

'This data set conforms to the PICCCBY Attribution License ( Please follow instructions listed in the citation reference provided at when using these data.'

Data access constraints

'Data arising from this project are available from the state of the environment indicator URL given below.'

Custodian evaluation

8 May 2002

The annual cycle can be clearly seen in the plots of monthly mean air temperatures, though it is much smaller for Macquarie Island with its maritime climate. This cycle makes it hard to see long-term trends but can be removed by using monthly anomalies, which show the difference between the value for a given month and the long-term mean value for that month.

The anomaly data show significant warming at Macquarie Island (over half a degree in 50 years). There appears to be no such trend at the Antarctic sites.

It should be noted that the data have not been corrected for any changes in site location, site exposure, instrumentation or observing practices.

7 Nov 2002

Condition scale - 5
1 - the environment degraded to the point where rehabilitation is impossible
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
7 - the environment is pristine, in perfect condition, no anthropogenic influences
State of Knowledge scale - 4 - Fair
1 - Poor
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
7 - Excellent

5 Aug 2004

Though recent temperatures for Macquarie Island have decreased slightly, the overall warming trend there (about half a degree in 50 years) remains significant. There is still no evidence of any warming trend at the Antarctic sites.

Condition scale - 5
1 - the environment degraded to the point where rehabilitation is impossible
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
7 - the environment is pristine, in perfect condition, no anthropogenic influences
State of Knowledge scale - 5
1 - Poor
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
7 - Excellent

For definitions of the Scale categories, consult the Explanation of the Status Categories

Related resources

Project 39 - Hydroxyl Airglow and Mesospheric Temperatures
Project 805 - Meteorology Observations
Scientific Bibliography 17261 - CSIRO Impacts and Adaptation Working Group (IAWG) (2001) Climate Change Impacts for Australia. CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Aitkenvale, Queensland, pp 8
Scientific Bibliography 17262 - White, W.B. & Peterson, R.G. (1996) An Antarctic Circumpolar Wave in Surface Pressure, Wind, Temperature and Sea-Ice Extent. Nature, Volume 380, pp 699-702.
Scientific Bibliography 17264 - CSIRO (2001) Climate Change Projections for Australia. Climate Impact Group, CSIRO Atmospheric Research, Melbourne pp.8
SOE Indicator 2 - Highest monthly air temperatures at Australian Antarctic Stations
SOE Indicator 3 - Lowest monthly air temperatures at Australian Antarctic Stations
SOE Indicator 4 - Monthly mean lower stratospheric temperatures above Australian Antarctic Stations
SOE Indicator 5 - Monthly mean mid-tropospheric temperatures above Australian Antarctic Stations
SOE Indicator 6 - Daily mean 10m Firn Temperatures at AWS sites in the AAT (deg C)
SOE Indicator 8 - Monthly mean atmospheric pressure at Australian Antarctic Stations
SOE Indicator 11 - Atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gas species
SOE Indicator 12 - Noctilucent cloud observations at Davis
SOE Indicator 14 - Midwinter atmospheric temperature at altitude 87km
SOE Indicator 16 - Extent of summer surface glacial melt (sq km)
SOE Indicator 38 - Mean sea level for the Antarctic region
SOE Indicator 42 - Antarctic sea ice extent and area
SOE Indicator 43 - Fast ice thickness at Davis and Mawson
SOE Indicator 56 - Monthly fuel usage of the generator sets and boilers
SOE Indicator 59 - Monthly electricity usage at Australian Antarctic Stations
SOE Indicator 62 - Water levels of Deep Lake, Vestfold Hills
SOE Indicator 70 - The presence or absence of vascular plant species in two defined areas of Heard Island
SOE Indicator 71 - The distribution and extent of Sphagnum moss on Macquarie Island
SOE Indicator 72 - Windmill Islands terrestrial vegetation dynamics
SOE Indicator 76 - Monthly fuel usage of ships travelling to Australian Antarctic Stations


The properties link can be used to view details of the parameters measured for this indicator.

Parameter Name Unit of measure Properties
Air Temperature deg C Properties
Air Temperature Anomaly deg C Properties

The following parameters and/or sensor notes are from the metadata record.







Related URLs
Citation reference for this metadata record and dataset
Download page for Australian Antarctic Data Centre