A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts
Article first published online: 12 JUL 2007
Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 34, Issue 13, July 2007
How to Cite
2007), A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L13705, doi:10.1029/2007GL030288., , and (
- Issue published online: 12 JUL 2007
- Article first published online: 12 JUL 2007
- Manuscript Accepted: 15 JUN 2007
- Manuscript Revised: 16 MAY 2007
- Manuscript Received: 5 APR 2007
- climate variability;
- climate shifts
 We construct a network of observed climate indices in the period 1900–2000 and investigate their collective behavior. The results indicate that this network synchronized several times in this period. We find that in those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with significant changes in global temperature trend and in ENSO variability. The latest such event is known as the great climate shift of the 1970s. We also find the evidence for such type of behavior in two climate simulations using a state-of-the-art model. This is the first time that this mechanism, which appears consistent with the theory of synchronized chaos, is discovered in a physical system of the size and complexity of the climate system.