Decadal variations of the Southern hemisphere circulation

DJ Karoly, P Hope, PD Jones

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51 Citations (Scopus)


A data set of monthly mean surface and sea-level pressure observations from a number of stations in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) for the period since 1901 has been used to investigate interannual and interdecadal variations of the SH circulation. A fairly uniform network of 62 stations was selected with data for the period 1955–1985, with a reduced network of 35 stations having data for the longer period 1901–1985. The sparse network has stations mainly on the SH tropical and mid-latitude land masses, with few islands or high-latitude stations. A rotated principal component analysis of the annual mean station pressure anomalies has been used to describe the dominant modes of interannual and interdecadal variations of the SH circulation that can be resolved with the available station network. We show that the sparse station network is able to capture the dominant modes of variability found in the period 1955–1985 using the denser network. The leading mode is associated with the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and is well resolved by the sparse network. This is the leading mode for interannual and interdecadal variations throughout the last century, but there are periods when it has reduced variance and a somewhat different structure, notably 1916–1935. Other modes of interannual variations show marked changes in importance on decadal or longer time-scales.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-738
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Climatology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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