Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Determining Interannual Variability of the Annual Cycle

Version 1 : Received: 4 August 2022 / Approved: 17 August 2022 / Online: 17 August 2022 (10:11:52 CEST)

How to cite: Zhang, M.; Von Storch, H. Determining Interannual Variability of the Annual Cycle. Preprints 2022, 2022080319. Zhang, M.; Von Storch, H. Determining Interannual Variability of the Annual Cycle. Preprints 2022, 2022080319.


We present a method to study the interannual variability of the annual cycle. The method consists of first determining the amplitude and phase of segments of 12 monthly means at all spatial points, resulting in one complex number per grid point and per year. The complex fields, once per year, are then subject to a complex EOF (CEOF) analysis. We consider as an example the barotropic stream function in the South China Sea as simulated with an ocean general circulation model across 6 decades of years, driven my realistic (NCEP) weather forcing. We find 3 to 4 to “significant” CEOFs, which account for about 53 to 62% of variance. These CEOFs go with large-scale patterns. Their time coefficients are mostly stationary, but point to some inhomogeneities related to instationarities in the forcing. In particular, the simulation since 1950-1958 deviates from the remainder of the simulation. The first CEOF describes variations in the center of the South China Sea. Its principal component describes a systematic, albeit noisy shift by almost 180o from 1960 to about the year 2000. When overlaid the long-term mean annual mean, the overall change consists of an amplification of the annual cycle in the 1960s and 1990s, whereas In the 1970s, the amplitude was reduced. Phase shifts in the anomaly (given by the CEOFs) have a small effect, because of the dominance of the mean annual cycle. These variations are not related to ENSO variability but may origin in variations of the Southeast monsoon. The second EOF represents strong changes, both in terms of intensity and phase, in the Luzon strait.


annual cyckle; complex EOFs; statistical analysis; South China Sea


Environmental and Earth Sciences, Oceanography

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