A novel two-step modeling scheme is used to reconstruct and analyze surface temperature and solar activity data at global, hemispheric, and regional scales. First, the self-organizing map (SOM) technique is used to extend annual modern climate data from the century to millennial scale. The SOM component planes are used to identify and quantify strength of nonlinear relations among modern surface temperature anomalies (<150 years), tropical and extratropical teleconnections, and Palmer Drought Severity Indices (0–2000 years). Cross-validation of global sea and land surface temperature anomalies verifies that the SOM is an unbiased estimator with less uncertainty than the magnitude of anomalies. Second, the quantile modeling of SOM reconstructions reveal trends and periods in surface temperature anomaly and solar activity whose timing agrees with published studies. Temporal features in surface temperature anomalies, such as the Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age, and Modern Warming Period, appear at all spatial scales but whose magnitudes increase when moving from ocean to land, from global to regional scales, and from southern to northern regions. Some caveats that apply when interpreting these data are the high-frequency filtering of climate signals based on quantile model selection and increased uncertainty when paleoclimatic data are limited. Even so, all models find the rate and magnitude of Modern Warming Period anomalies to be greater than those during the Medieval Warm Period. Lastly, quantile trends among reconstructed equatorial Pacific temperature profiles support the recent assertion of two primary El Niño Southern Oscillation types. These results demonstrate the efficacy of this alternative modeling approach for reconstructing and interpreting scale-dependent climate variables.
Additional publication details
Data-driven modeling of surface temperature anomaly and solar activity trends
Environmental Modelling and Software
Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center