Tripoles: A New Class of Climate Teleconnections

Date of Submission: 
December 11, 2015
Report Number: 
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Teleconnections in climate represent a persistent and large-scale temporal connection in a given climate variable between two distant geographical regions. They are known to impact and explain the variability in climate of many regions across the globe and have been a subject of interest to climatologists. Traditionally, climate teleconnections have been studied as a persistent relationship between a pair of geographical regions (e.g. North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and El-Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO)). In this report, we define a new class of climate teleconnections which we refer to as tripoles that capture climatic relationships between three regions, in contrast to teleconnections that are traditionally defined using only two regions. We further provide a categorization of tripoles based on pairwise relationships between the three participating regions and propose a shared nearest neighbor (SNN) graph-based approach to find tripoles in a given spatio-temporal dataset.