Predictability of Indian Ocean sea surface temperature using canonical correlation analysis

Collins, D. C.; Reason, C. J. C.; Tangang, F.
May 2004
Climate Dynamics;May2004, Vol. 22 Issue 5, p481
Academic Journal
There is strong evidence that Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures (SSTs) influence the climate variability of Southern Asia and Africa; hence, accurate prediction of these SSTs is a high priority. In this study, we use canonical correlation analysis (CCA) to design empirical models to assess the predictability of tropical Indian Ocean SST from sea level pressure (SLP) and SST themselves with lead-times up to one year. One model uses the first twelve empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs) of SLP over the Indian Ocean using different lead-times to predict SST. A CCA model with EOFs of SST as the predictor at the same lead-times is compared to SLP as a predictor and shows the auto-correlation of the system. A CCA using the first five extended empirical orthogonal functions (EEOFs) of sea level pressure over the Indian Ocean basin for an interval of two years combined with SST EOFs as predictors is found to produce the greatest correlation between forecast and observed SSTs. This model obtains higher skill by explicitly considering the development in time of SLP anomalies in the region. The skill of this model, assessed from retroactive forecasts of an 18 year period, shows improvement relative to other empirical forecasts particularly for the central and eastern Indian Ocean and boreal autumn months preceding the Southern Hemisphere summer rainfall season. This is likely due to the limited domain of this model identifying modes of variability that are more pronounced in these areas during this season. Finally, a nonlinear canonical correlation analysis (NLCCA) derived from a neural network is used to analyze the leading nonlinear modes. These nonlinear modes differ from the linear CCA modes with distinct cold and warm SST phases suggesting a nonlinear relationship between SST and SLP over the tropical Indian Ocean.


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