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Correlation analyses between sea surface temperature anomalies in the eastern equatorial Pacific and the world ocean

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Based on data from the Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (COADS), objective analyses of the monthly mean sea surface temperature (SST) were prepared at GFDL for each month of the 110-year period 1870–1979. Time series of various indices characterizing the SST anomalies averaged over the eastern equatorial Pacific (EEP), the tropical oceans and the world ocean are presented for monthly, yearly and decadal time-averaging periods. Global correlations maps are given for each decade of the 1870–1979 period. They show the spatial connections between the monthly SST anomalies in the EEP and in other parts of the world ocean and how these connections vary for the different decades. On the intermonthly time scale the SST anomalies in the EEP and those in the tropical and world oceans are found to be highly correlated, with maximum correlations values of 0.91 at zero lag for the tropical oceans during the 1950–1959 decade and 0.81 for the world ocean during the 1970–1979 decade. Positive correlation values of r⩾0.36 persist on average from about 4 months before to about 8 months after the EEP anomalies occur. There is a clear tendency for the tropical and world ocean anomalies to lag behind the EEP anomalies. Comparing different oceans, we find the tendency for the tropical SST anomalies in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans to lag behind those in the EEP region by about 1 and 3 months, respectively. On the interannual time scale the EEP anomalies are also well correlated with those in the other regions, having an average correlation of 0.84 for the tropical oceans and of about 0.7 for the world ocean.

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Correspondence to Yi Hong Pan or Abraham H Oort.

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Hong Pan, Y., Oort, A.H. Correlation analyses between sea surface temperature anomalies in the eastern equatorial Pacific and the world ocean. Climate Dynamics 4, 191–205 (1990).

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  • Temperature Anomaly
  • World Ocean
  • Maximum Correlation
  • Clear Tendency
  • Tropical Ocean