Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 103, Issue 3–4, pp 451–457 | Cite as

Interannual variations in the local spatial autocorrelation of tropospheric temperatures

  • Robert C. BallingJr.
  • Gregory B. Goodrich
Original Paper


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.


Spatial Autocorrelation Pacific Decadal Oscillation Southern Annular Mode Polar Vortex Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geographical Sciences and Urban PlanningArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Geography and GeologyWestern Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenUSA

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