In Chapter 12 of the book, the math model behind the equatorial Pacific ocean dipole known as the ENSO (El Nino /Southern Oscillation) was presented.  Largely distinct to that, the climate index referred to as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) occurs in the northern Pacific. As with modeling the AMO, understanding the dynamics of the PDO helps cross-validate the LTE theory for dipoles such as ENSO, as reported at the 2018 Fall Meeting of the AGU (poster). Again, if we can apply an identical forcing for PDO as for AMO and ENSO, then we can further cross-validate the LTE model. So by reusing that same forcing for an independent climate index such as PDO, we essentially remove a large number of degrees of freedom from the model and thus defend against claims of over-fitting.

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Tropical Instability Waves

In Chapter 12 of the book, we present the hypothesis that tropical instability waves (TIW) of the equatorial Pacific are the higher wavenumber (and higher frequency) companion to the lower wavenumber ENSO (El Nino /Southern Oscillation) behavior. See Fig 1 below.

Figure 1 : Tropical Instability Waves along the equator have about a ~15x higher wavenumber than the ENSO wave.

TIW wavetrains are also observed in the equatorial Atlantic so would be considered alongside the AMO there as the high wavenumber and low wavenumber pairing.

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In Chapter 12 of the book, we focused on modeling the standing-wave behavior of the Pacific ocean dipole referred to as ENSO (El Nino /Southern Oscillation).  Because it has been in climate news recently, it makes sense to give equal time to the Atlantic ocean equivalent to ENSO referred to as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). The original rationale for modeling AMO was to determine if it would help cross-validate the LTE theory for equatorial climate dipoles such as ENSO; this was reported at the 2018 Fall Meeting of the AGU (poster). The approach was similar to that applied for other dipoles such as the IOD (which is also in the news recently with respect to Australia bush fires and in how multiple dipoles can amplify climate extremes [1]) — and so if we can apply an identical forcing for AMO as for ENSO then we can further cross-validate the LTE model. So by reusing that same forcing for an independent climate index such as AMO, we essentially remove a large number of degrees of freedom from the model and thus defend against claims of over-fitting.

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Autocorrelation in Power Spectra, continued

This is a short comment pointing to an addition to a previous post

The context is looking for autocorrelations in the frequency domain of a time-series. Although not as common as performing autocorrelations in the time domain, it is equally as powerful.

The earlier idea was to look for harmonics in the periodicity of the ENSO signal, and the chart described in the post showed clear annual and higher harmonics in the time series. This was via a straightforward sliding autocorrelation in the power spectra.

As an additional technique, we can look for symmetric sidebands of the annual fundamental and harmonics frequencies by folding the spectra over about the annual frequency and performing a direct correlation calculation.

Lower x-axis is the lower sideband interval (blue) and
upper x-axis is the symmetric upper sideband interval (red) shown in reverse

This correlation is painfully obvious and is well beyond statistically significant in demonstrating that an annual impulse signal is modulating another much more complex forcing signal (likely of tidal origin). This is actually a well-known process known as a double-sideband suppressed carrier modulation, used most commonly in facilitating broadcast transmissions. As shown in the equations below, the modulation acts to completely suppress the carrier (i.e. annual) frequency.

Read the previous post for more detail on the approach.

Ordinarily, the demodulation is straightforward via a standard mixing approach, as the carrier signal is a much higher frequency than the informational signal, but since annual and long-period tides are of roughly similar periods, the demodulation will only complicate the spectrum. This is not a big deal as we need to fit the peaks via the LTE formulation in any case.

This is a new and novel finding and not to be found anywhere in the ENSO research literature. Why it hasn’t been uncovered yet is a bit of a mystery, but the fact that the annual signal is completely suppressed may be a hint. It may be that we need to understand why the dog didn’t bark.

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

— “The Adventure of Silver Blaze” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

If that is not the case, and this has been published elsewhere, will update this post.

AO, PNA, & SAM Models

In Chapter 11, we developed a general formulation based on Laplace’s Tidal Equations (LTE) to aid in the analysis of standing wave climate models, focusing on the ENSO and QBO behaviors in the book.  As a means of cross-validating this formulation, it makes sense to test the LTE model against other climate indices. So far we have extended this to PDO, AMO, NAO, and IOD, and to complete the set, in this post we will evaluate the northern latitude indices comprised of the Arctic Oscillation/Northern Annular Mode (AO/NAM) and the Pacific North America (PNA) pattern, and the southern latitude index referred to as the Southern Annular Mode (SAM). We will first evaluate AO and PNA in comparison to its close relative NAO and then SAM …

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The Indian Ocean Dipole

In the book, we modeled the ENSO and QBO climate behaviors. Based on the approach described therein we have since extended this to the PDO, AMO, and NAO indices, with the IOD the focus of this post.

In Chapter 12, we concentrated on the Pacific ocean dipole referred to as ENSO (El Nino/Southern Oscillation).  A dipole that shares some of the characteristics of ENSO is the neighboring Indian Ocean Dipole and its gradient measure the Dipole Mode Index.

The IOD is important because it is correlated with India subcontinent monsoons. It also shows a correlation to ENSO, which is quite apparent by comparing specific peak positions, with a correlation coefficient of 0.2.  This post will describe the differences found via perturbing the ENSO model …

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North Atlantic Oscillation

In Chapter 12 of the book, we derived an ENSO standing wave model based on an analytical Laplace’s Tidal Equation formulation. The results of this were so promising that they were also applied successfully to two other similar oceanic dipoles, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), which were reported at last year’s American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference. For that presentation, an initial attempt was made to model the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which is a more rapid cycle, consisting of up to two periods per year, in contrast to the El Nino peaks of the ENSO time-series which occur every 2 to 7 years. Those results were somewhat inconclusive, so are revisited in the following post:

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Teleconnections vs Common-mode mechanisms

The term teleconnection has long been defined as interactions between behaviors separated by geographical distances. Using Google Scholar, the first consistent use in a climate context was by De Geer in the 1920’s [1]. He astutely contrasted the term teleconnection with telecorrelation, with the implication being that the latter describes a situation where two behaviors are simply correlated through some common-mode mechanism — in the case that De Geer describes, the self-registration of the annual solar signal with respect to two geographically displaced sedimentation features.

As an alternate analogy, the hibernation of groundhogs and black bears isn’t due to some teleconnection between the two species but simply a correlation due to the onset of winter. The timing of cold weather is the common-mode mechanism that connects the two behaviors. This may seem obvious enough that the annual cycle should and often does serve as the null hypothesis for ascertaining correlations of climate data against behavioral models.

Yet, this distinction seems to have been lost over the years, as one will often find papers hypothesizing that one climate behavior is influencing another geographically distant behavior via a physical teleconnection (see e.g. [2]). This has become an increasingly trendy viewpoint since the GWPF advisor A.A. Tsonis added the term network to indicate that behaviors may contain linkages between multiple nodes, and that the seeming complexity of individual behavior is only discovered by decoding the individual teleconnections [3].

That’s acceptable as a theory, but in practice, it’s still important to consider the possible common-mode mechanisms that may be involved. In this post we will look at a possible common-mode mechanisms between the atmospheric behavior of QBO (see Chapter 11 in the book) and the oceanic behavior of ENSO (see Chapter 12). As reference [3] suggests, this may be a physical teleconnection, but the following analysis shows how a common-mode forcing may be much more likely.

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Characterizing spatial standing waves of ENSO

In Chapter 12 of the book, we did not delve into the details of the spatial aspects of the LTE-based ENSO standing wave model to any great degree. We did include a concise derivation of the steps involved in creating separable equations, corresponding to solutions for the temporal and spatial parts of the standing wave dipole. However, only passing mention was made of the unique nature of the spatio-temporal coordination which emerges from the model — and which should be observed in the empirically observed behavior. We can do that now with the abundance of comprehensive data available.

Figure 1: The challenge is to capture the spatial profile of the ENSO standing wave dipole — the El Nino to La Nina oscillation, with the dipole node location indicated by the yellow bar (site)
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Applying Wavelet Scalograms

Dennis suggested:

“I was thinking about ENSO model and the impulse function used to drive it.  Could it be the wind shift from the QBO that is related to that impulse function.

My recollection was that it was a biennial pulse, which timing wise might fit with QBO. “


They are somehow related but more than likely through a common-mode mechanism. Consider that QBO has elements of a semi-annual impulse, as the sun crosses the equator twice per year.  The ENSO model has an impulse of once per year, with more recent evidence that it may not have to be biennial (i.e. alternating sign in consecutive years) as we described it in the book.

I had an evaluation Mathematica license for a few weeks so ran several wavelet scalograms on the data and models. Figure 1 below is a comparison of ENSO to the model

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