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Climate Indices
Goals     Concepts     Simulations     Processes     Records     Scenarios

The Oceans are believed to play a significant role in climate variability, principally on inter-annual and inter-decadal time-scales, but we still do not fully understand how the ocean-atmosphere system interacts. One hypothesis is that the atmosphere alone drives the oceans with the atmosphere's intrinsic random variability resulting in the observed climate variability. The converse hypothesis is that the oceans can drive the atmosphere. Atmosphere drives the ocean - Ocean is the memory for the atmosphereIf the oceans provide consistent long-term (inter-decadal) feedback, to the climate system, this becomes a key issue since a “known” feedback signal may improve or provide climate prediction capabilities. The goals of this study are to explore:

  • Ocean-atmosphere feedback and associated mechanisms on the 10-100+ year time-scale
  • Climate indices as a means of capturing non-linear/feedback climate system responses
  • Relationships between marine environmental time series and climate indices

North Atlantic Study

The diagram below highlights some of the key and interesting results obtained for regions around the North Atlantic using an analysis technique, MONACLE, described in greater detail in the following webpages. Each time series shows a comparison between [coloured lines] historic fish catch records and a local climatic index, [black lines] via MONACLE.
North Atlantic Study


Topliss, B.J., (2001)


A Conceptual View of the Ocean-Atmosphere Climate System: Armchair Oceanography and Global Historic Fish Catch. Oceanography, 14, 4, 122- 128.

Topliss, B.J., (2002)


Ocean-Atmosphere Feedback: Using the Non-Stationarity in the Climate System. GeoPhys. Res. Letter, 29, 8, 1029/2001GL014011.

This research topic is ongoing. To obtain the latest ideas, results, and further details contact Dr. Brenda Topliss at

  Last Updated : 2007-02-07 Important Notices