The Continuum of Northern Hemisphere Teleconnection Patterns and a Description of the NAO Shift with the Use of Self-Organizing Maps
Abstract In this study, the method of self-organizing maps (SOMs) is used with NCEP?NCAR reanalysis data to advance the continuum perspective of Northern Hemisphere teleconnection patterns and to shed light on the secular eastward shift of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) that began in the late 1970s. A 20-pattern SOM analysis of daily, wintertime, Northern Hemisphere sea level pressure reveals a continuum of patterns that correspond closely with well-known teleconnection patterns. This analysis also reveals that interdecadal variability of the hemispheric sea level pressure field may be understood in terms of changes in the frequency distribution within the continuum of sea level pressure patterns described by the SOM. Based on the continuum perspective illustrated with the SOM, the above secular shift of the NAO may be understood as a change in dominance from westward-displaced, negative NAO-like patterns to eastward-displaced, positive NAO-like patterns, though westward- and eastward-displaced NAO-like patterns existed during all time periods and for both phases.