Manilla Dew Point leads ENSO by three months

Manilla dew point lags NINO3.4 sea surface temperature by 3 months.

(This material justifies a statement in the post “Predict weather from ENSO?”)

The graphs above are like those in two previous posts, but show how Manilla smoothed monthly dew point anomalies, like temperature anomalies and rainfall anomalies, relate to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

High (El Niño) values of Sea Surface Temperature (NINO3.4) are shown here to relate to low humidity at Manilla, NSW. As humidity data, I estimate dew points daily at sunrise. Dew points, like Sea Surface Temperatures, are expressed in degrees celsius, but corresponding anomalies take the opposite sense. The first graph plots the Manilla dew point anomaly, given a  negative sign, and the NINO3.4 anomaly. To improve the match, I have lagged the Manilla dew points by three months. As an example, I have noted on the graph the match of Manilla’s November 2005 humidity peak with the La Nina ENSO peak of February 2006.

To the eye, the over-all match is better than in either the rainfall or the maximum temperature plots of earlier posts. The two curves here match very well from 2000 to 2007.

The second graph shows the discrepancy between the two curves. Dashed lines show limits of a good match at +/-0.5 degrees. The nature of each larger discrepancy is noted. (“Here” in text boxes means “at Manilla”.)
After 2007 there are large mis-matches between Manilla dew point and ENSO. Dew point fluctuations suddenly become less than might be expected from NINO3.4 values. It may be relevant that, as I posted elsewhere  in July 2010, skies suddenly became very much cloudier at Manilla after August 2007.

I have also tried plotting the following variables against NINO3.4:

Daily minimum temperature;
Daily temperature range;
Percent cloudy mornings;
Subsoil temperature.

None of them matches NINO3.4 well enough to display.

The three sets of graphs show “teleconnections” between Sea Surface Temperatures in the equatorial Pacific and climate variables at Manilla in inland NSW, Australia. Climatic peaks come earlier at Manilla than in the Pacific:

Peaks of daily maximum temperature come one month earlier;
peaks of rainfall come two months earlier;
peaks of Dew Point come three months earlier.

In a simple-minded way, it seems to me more likely that Australia’s climate drives the Southern Oscillation than the other way around. I know that this is speculation. (Sort of like Abraham Ortellius suggesting in 1587 that Africa and South America might have drifted apart.)

1. High frequency noise is reduced in the case of the Manilla monthly data by a Gaussian smoothing function of half-width six months.
2. On advice, I represent the El Nino – Southern Oscillation phenomenon (ENSO) by the NINO3.4 area anomalies from the OISSTv2 data set.
My enquiries about the best data to use are in this “weatherzone”  thread.
The ensemble of sea surface temperatures does not have much high-frequency noise. There is some, however, and I have used the same smoothing as used in the (formerly authoritative) Oceanic Nino Index (ONI), that is, a running mean of each three monthly values.

This was posted originally in a “weatherzone” forum, with the date 12 November 2011. It is posted here with the nominal date 29 November 2011.



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