Journal article

Annual sea surface temperature lag as an indicator of regional climate variability

Chung-Leong Li, John AT Bye, Stephen J Gallagher, Tim Cowan



The annual SST lag for the world ocean is obtained from a Fourier analysis of the HadISST (1870-2008) and NOAA WOA05 (1900-2005) monthly SST data series. The main properties are a mean of 73 days and a standard deviation of 16 days, with tongues of high SST lag extending poleward and eastward from the equatorial regions where a maximum in lag of about 110 days occurs. The SST lag is the sum of an atmospheric surface heat flux lag and an ocean heat storage lag which is the dominant contributor and provides direct estimates of the damping time for air/sea heat exchange, which are in good agreement with observations in the eastern North Atlantic Ocean, and also predictions of the phase lag of t..

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Funding Acknowledgements

C-LL acknowledges with thanks the Albert Shimmins Memorial Fund and CSIRO for support in completing this paper. Perceptive comments by two referees, which have led to a major restructuring of the paper, and useful discussions with Prof. Ian Simmonds, are also gratefully acknowledged.