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El Niño exhibits distinct Eastern Pacific (EP) and Central Pacific (CP) types which are commonly, but not always consistently, distinguished from each other by different signatures in equatorial climate variability. Here we propose an index based on evolving climate networks to objectively discriminate between both flavors by utilizing a scalar-valued measure that quantifies spatial localization and dispersion in global teleconnections of surface air temperature. Our index displays a sharp peak (high localization) during EP events, whereas during CP events (larger dispersion) it remains close to the values observed during normal periods. In contrast to previous classification schemes, our approach specifically accounts for El Niño's global impacts. We confirm recent El Niño classifications for the years 1951 to 2014 and assign types to those cases where former works yielded ambiguous results. Ultimately, we demonstrate that our index provides a similar discrimination of La Niña episodes into two distinct types.
Research news | 2018-11-17
Study reveals deeply contrasting realities for farmers in South Africa
Research news | 2018-11-16
New report projects area of habitat larger than New Zealand could be lost to urbanization over next 20 years
Research news | 2018-11-15
The fifth in a series of seven "deep dives" looking into the connections between resilience and development
Research news | 2018-11-13
First assessment of planetary boundaries for antibiotic and pesticide resistance shows several are already crossed
Educational news | 2018-11-13
Centre partners with other insitutions at Stockholm University to host a PhD/postdoc course in global and environmental governace
Research news | 2018-11-09
The perception of cognition and other related terms easily get misunderstood in scientific processes, leading to frustration, communication breakdown and a collaboration impasse