There has been a good deal of discussion regarding the correlation between temperatures at various locations throughout Antarctica. Several people have looked at the relationship between correlation and distance by creating graphs linking the two. IMO, one of the difficulties in interpreting these is that they are affected by a variety of factors, including the shape and topography of the continent and by the fact that the place is completely surrounded by a large pool of water.
I think that it is informative to pick several locations and to see how the AVHHR series at that location is related to all other locations. I selected two points: the tip of the peninsula (Steig series 1) and the obvious interior point: the South Pole (grid point 1970 is the closest).
For a selected site, after calculating the 5509 correlations, we graph them using a color scale to represent the correlation (as usual red is positive and blue is negative and white areas represent zero correlation). The location of the grid site is represented by a green +. Keep in mind that these are correlations measuring relationships between temperatures at the grid point, not positive or negative trends.
First, we take the latest revelation from Steig, the cloud masked AVHHR data. The grid point is on the tip of the peninsula.
Several things stand out in the graph. Obviously, the region immediately adjacent to the grid point is strongly correlated, but what is somewhat surprising is that the correlation drops off fairly becoming negative while still in the Western Antarctic area. The relatively low correlation continues to the rest of the continent.
Next, we take the original reconstruction: ant_recon.txt. This was supposedly reconstructed from the previous data using RegEM and the manned surface stations:
The correlation has strengthened dramatically in the Western Antarctic so that now the pattern exhibited by the reconstruction at the tip of the peninsula seems to be reflected by the entire west. As well, the Eastern portion has now become more strongly inversely correlated with the peninsula.
I have also looked at the two other reconstructions (detrended and PCA) created by Steig as well as the looking at the South Pole and how its temperatures correlate with the rest of the grid points. These can be found at my statpad site . The R script can be found in a Word document here.