Interannual variations in the local spatial autocorrelation of tropospheric temperatures
Many dimensions of the global temperature pattern have been explored intensely over the past few decades. In this investigation, we explore the underlying spatial autoregressiveness of annual tropospheric temperature anomalies measured by polar-orbiting satellites. We found that the percent of the Earth covered by areas of significantly high local autocorrelation ranged from 11.92% to 25.90% over the 1979 to 2008 study period. We gathered 13 different teleconnection indices that have been linked to regional to global temperatures and found two (Polar/Eurasia pattern and North Atlantic Oscillation) that were positively correlated to the percent area with high local spatial autocorrelation. The magnitude but not the sign of the El Niño Southern Oscillation is also an important factor in the variation of spatial autocorrelation. The physical mechanism driving high local spatial autocorrelation is thought to be zonal and hemispheric flow governed by the subtropical and polar jet streams.
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