Dominant modes of individual and joint variability in global sea surface temperatures (SST) and global Palmer drought severity index (PDSI) values for the twentieth century are identified through a multivariate frequency domain singular value decomposition. This analysis indicates that a secular trend and variability related to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) are the dominant modes of variance shared among the global datasets. For the SST data the secular trend corresponds to a positive trend in Indian Ocean and South Atlantic SSTs, and a negative trend in North Pacific and North Atlantic SSTs. The ENSO reconstruction shows a strong signal in the tropical Pacific, North Pacific, and Indian Ocean regions. For the PDSI data, the secular trend reconstruction shows high amplitudes over central Africa including the Sahel, whereas the regions with strong ENSO amplitudes in PDSI are the southwestern and northwestern United States, South Africa, northeastern Brazil, central Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Australia. An additional significant frequency, multidecadal variability, is identified for the Northern Hemisphere. This multidecadal frequency appears to be related to the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO). The multidecadal frequency is statistically significant in the Northern Hemisphere SST data, but is statistically nonsignificant in the PDSI data.
Additional publication details
Joint spatiotemporal variability of global sea surface temperatures and global Palmer drought severity index values