Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Evolving Climate Networks

In their paper the authors1 propose a method for constructing and analysing an evolving complex network from data that was generated by a spatio-temporal dynamic system. They used different complex network measures to reanalyse surface air temperature data, their results revealing a rich internal structure in complex climate networks that allowed them to study the climate network stability, and impacts of teleconnections such as the El Niño/Southern Oscillation. Peculiar wave-like structures of high information flow, that can be related to global surface ocean currents were revealed by betweenness analysis.


According to the authors1 they have demonstrated the application of the evolving complex networks approach for a spatio-temporal analysis of global climate field data. The application of this approach allowed them to analyse the global stability of the climate regime and the unveiling of strong interactions and teleconnections (interrelations). They have found by studying the number of robust edges that the dynamical interconnectivity in the global climate regime is strongly reduced by the El Niño/Southern Oscillation following the onset of El Niño events. Such changes are underlain by the betweenness centrality that depicts heat exchange pathways. An example is the pathways being centred around the Pinatubo volcano that underlies the eruption, had a large impact on the global air surface temperature field immediately following the eruption.

According to the authors1 it is important to realise that their complex network approach was an essential ingredient in the discovery of the climate backbone. The main advantage of betweenness is that global network topology of pairwise interrelationships between regions is taken into account. In the classical linear methods, such as PCA, SSA, etc., that have been widely used to disclose telecommunication patterns in climatology use information from next neighbours at each point on the grid, the authors1 suggesting that from a complex network point of view they are only local. The authors1 suggest that in the study of the impact of extreme events, such as strong El Niños, extreme monsoons or volcanic eruptions on the climatology of the climate interaction networks their method is promising. The authors1 believe that in the future it will allow the obtaining of new insights into the individual local signature of changes in the energy and information flow structure and stability of the climate system.

See Source 1

Sources & Further reading

  1. Marwan, N. et al., Evolving Climate Networks,
  2. Colombi CE, Fernández E, Currie BS, Alcober OA, Martínez R, et al. (2012) Large-Diameter Burrows of the Triassic Ischigualasto Basin, NW Argentina: Paleoecological and Paleoenvironmental Implications. PLoS ONE 7(12): e50662. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050662
Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated 16/12/2012 

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