Modes of climate variability

Climate can be defined as the long-term trends of the weather. While both are fundamental to the atmosphere, they are affected by cooperation between the atmosphere and the ocean, the biosphere, the land surface, and the cryosphere. These components exchange mass, momentum and energy on all time scales. As a consequence, global or regional scale climate variables such as the sea surface temperature, the rainfall, the surface pressure or the wind speed fluctuate somewhat regularly.[1] This regular fluctuation is a natural form of climate variability, which are individually known as modes or oscillations. Their phases and states are monitored by different types of climate models. There are many known oscillations which extend over larges areas across the globe. Examples are:

These patterns vary over a large range of space and time scales, and their fluctuations can impact global and regional temperature variations.[2]


  1. "Global modes of climate variability", 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22- Jul- 2016].
  2. "Decade-to-Century-Scale Climate Variability and Change", National Academy Press, pp. 25-26, 1998.

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Jason Donev
Last updated: September 17, 2016
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