Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/100408
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Type: Journal article
Title: The ENSO-precipitation teleconnection and its modulation by the interdecadal pacific oscillation
Author: Westra, S.
Renard, B.
Thyer, M.
Citation: Journal of Climate, 2015; 28(12):4753-4773
Publisher: American Meteorological Society
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 0894-8755
1520-0442
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Seth Westra, Benjamin Renard, Mark Thyer
Abstract: This study evaluates the role of the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO) in modulating the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO)–precipitation relationship. The standard IPO index is described together with several alternatives that were derived using a low-frequency ENSO filter, demonstrating that an equivalent IPO index can be obtained as a low-frequency version of ENSO. Several statistical artifacts that arise from using a combination of raw and smoothed ENSO indices in modeling the ENSO–precipitation teleconnection are then described. These artifacts include the potentially spurious identification of low-frequency variability in a response variable resulting from the use of smoothed predictors and the potentially spurious modulation of a predictor–response relationship by the low-frequency version of the predictor under model misspecification. The role of the IPO index in modulating the ENSO–precipitation relationship is evaluated using a global gridded precipitation dataset, based on three alternative statistical models: stratified, linear, and piecewise linear. In general, the information brought by the IPO index, beyond that already contained in the Niño-3.4 index, is limited and not statistically significant. An exception is in northeastern Australia using annual precipitation data, and only for the linear model. Stratification by the IPO index induces a nonlinear ENSO–precipitation relationship, suggesting that the apparent modulation by the IPO is likely to be spurious and attributable to the combination of sample stratification and model misspecification. Caution is therefore required when using smoothed climate indices to model or explain low-frequency variability in precipitation.
Keywords: Climate variability; interdecadal variability
Rights: © 2015 American Meteorological Society
RMID: 0030029198
DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00722.1
Grant ID: http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DP120100338
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DP1094796
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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