A New Teleconnection : The Australian Southern Oscillation

Date of Submission: 
September 21, 2012
Report Number: 
12-020
Report PDF: 
Abstract: 
A possibly new teleconnection has been discovered off the east coast of Australia in the region around Tasman sea and Southern Ocean. Found in pressure anomalies using a novel graph based approach called shared reciprocal nearest neighbors, this dipole appears in reanalysis datasets such as NCEP, JRA, ERA and MERRA. The HadSLP2 observation data shows the new dipole, despite of limited observations in the Tasman Sea. Tests are performed in order to understand the uniqueness of the dipole and its relationship to existing well known phenomena. The dipole index is correlated with known dipole indices such as the SO (Southern Oscillation), AAO (Antarctic Oscillation) with which it shares a marginally higher correlation of less than 0.4 and other northern teleconnections with which it is shown to have a poor relationship. We limit further analysis with only the AAO and SO indices as these are spatially close, have a higher correlation with the new index and tend to influence it in one or more seasons. Seasonal analysis is done to look at the variation in strength as well as its influence on other variables such as TAS (Temperature at Surface), OLR (Outgoing Longwave Radiation), Precipitation etc. We also look at composite maps and do significance tests to determine the significant regions in these maps. We also determine regions that are influenced by the new dipole index alone and are not influenced by other dipoles namely the SO and AAO by looking at difference maps. We discover the dipole at different geopotential heights - 700 hPa, 500 hPa and 50 hPa (Sea Level Pressure is 1013 hPa)- and determine if the dipole is a sea surface phenomenon such as the SO or an upper atmospheric phenomenon such as the AAO. Our tests have shown that we may indeed be looking at a new phenomenon and further tests are being conducted to confirm that.