Interannual and interdecadal variability in United States surface-air temperatures, 1910-87

Climatic Change
By: , and 

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Abstract

Monthly mean surface-air temperatures at 870 sites in the contiguous United States were analyzed for interannual and interdecadal variability over the time interval 1910-87. The temperatures were analyzed spatially by empirical-orthogonal-function analysis and temporally by singularspectrum analysis (SSA). The dominant modes of spatio-temporal variability are trends and nonperiodic variations with time scales longer than 15 years, decadal-scale oscillations with periods of roughly 7 and 10 years, and interannual oscillations of 2.2 and 3.3 years. Together, these modes contribute about 18% of the slower-than-annual United States temperature variance. Two leading components roughly capture the mean hemispheric temperature trend and represent a long-term warming, largest in the southwest, accompanied by cooling of the domain's southeastern quadrant. The extremes of the 2.2-year interannual oscillation characterize temperature differences between the Northeastern and Southwestern States, whereas the 3.3-year cycle is present mostly in the Western States. The 7- to 10-year oscillations are much less regular and persistent than the interannual oscillations and characterize temperature differences between the western and interior sectors of the United States. These continental- or regional-scale temperature variations may be related to climatic variations with similar periodicities, either global or centered in other regions; such variations include quasi-biennial oscillations over the tropical Pacific or North Atlantic and quasi-triennial oscillations of North Pacific sea-surface temperatures.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Interannual and interdecadal variability in United States surface-air temperatures, 1910-87
Series title Climatic Change
DOI 10.1007/BF01092980
Volume 31
Issue 1
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher Kluwer Academic Publishers
Publisher location Netherlands
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Climatic Change
First page 35
Last page 66
Country United States
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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