Joint modes of climate variability across the inter-Americas


  • Mark R. Jury,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Physics, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, PR 00681-9016, Puerto Rico
    2. Univ. Zululand, KwaDlangezwa 3886, South Africa
    • Department of Physics, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, PR 00681-9016, Puerto Rico.
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  • Björn A. Malmgren

    1. Dept Earth Sciences, Uppsala University Villavägen 16, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden
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Surface temperature (Ts), sea-level pressure (SLP), and zonal wind (U) fields from NCEP/NCAR reanalysis spanning the period 1949–2006 have been jointly analysed by means of principal component analysis to assess the dominant modes of climate variability in the inter-American region, including the eastern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Two aspects of these time-series were analysed: the annual cycle and its residual. Seasonal modes 1 and 2 take the form of north-south dipoles of Ts over oceanic and terrestrial environments. Seasonal mode 3 derives from SLP changes over the Amazon with a Caribbean wind response. Temporal fluctuations in the residual (ANOM) fields are resolved by six modes. ANOM1–3 is dominated by SLP and Ts changes across the equator in the Atlantic and east Pacific. The ANOM4 pattern is an isolated wind mode in the NE Atlantic. ANOM5 and 6 are dominated by sea temperature patterns in the South Atlantic and in the path of African easterly waves crossing the tropical Atlantic. The residual time scores are marked by significant warming (Ts) trends and co-located lower pressure. Cycles in the anomaly time scores tend to occur at 2- to 5-year periods. Modes dominated by atmospheric variables exhibit greater high-frequency ‘noise’ than oceanic modes. Predictability is assessed through development of multivariate regression models trained on Caribbean rainfall and related target time-series. The seasonal dipole between North and South America is found to modulate Pacific El Niño-Southern Oscillation and tropical Atlantic influence on Caribbean rainfall. Copyright © 2011 Royal Meteorological Society