Precipitation is one of the most important meteorological variables for defining the climate dynamics, but the spatial patterns of precipitation have not been fully investigated yet. The complex network theory, which provides a robust tool to investigate the statistical interdependence of many interacting elements, is used here to analyze the spatial dynamics of annual precipitation over seventy years (1941-2010). The precipitation network is built associating a node to a geographical region, which has a temporal distribution of precipitation, and identifying possible links among nodes through the correlation function. The precipitation network reveals significant spatial variability with barely connected regions, as Eastern China and Japan, and highly connected regions, such as the African Sahel, Eastern Australia and, to a lesser extent, Northern Europe. Sahel and Eastern Australia are remarkably dry regions, where low amounts of rainfall are uniformly distributed on continental scales and small-scale extreme events are rare. As a consequence, the precipitation gradient is low, making these regions well connected on a large spatial scale. On the contrary, the Asiatic South-East is often reached by extreme events such as monsoons, tropical cyclones and heat waves, which can all contribute to reduce the correlation to the short-range scale only. Some patterns emerging between mid-latitude and tropical regions suggest a possible impact of the propagation of planetary waves on precipitation at a global scale. Other links can be qualitatively associated to the atmospheric and oceanic circulation. To analyze the sensitivity of the network to the physical closeness of the nodes, short-term connections are broken. The African Sahel, Eastern Australia and Northern Europe regions again appear as the supernodes of the network, confirming furthermore their long-range connection structure. Almost all North-American and Asian nodes vanish, revealing that extreme events can enhance high precipitation gradients, leading to a systematic absence of long-range patterns.
|Titolo:||Climate Dynamics: A Network-Based Approach for the Analysis of Global Precipitation|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1371/journal.pone.0071129|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|
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