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Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
21 Mar 2014
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics (NPG). The revised manuscript was not accepted.
Sea surface temperature patterns in Tropical Atlantic: principal component analysis and nonlinear principal component analysis
S. C. Kenfack1,2,5, K. F. Mkankam2, G. Alory3, Y. du Penhoat4, N. M. Hounkonnou1, D. A. Vondou2, and G. N. Bawe1 1International Chair in Mathematical Physics and Applications, University of Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou, Benin
2Laboratory for Environmental Modeling and Atmospheric Physics, University of Yde I, Yaoundé, Cameroon
3Laboratoire d'études en Géophysique et océanographie spatiales (LEGOS), Toulouse, France
4IRD; LEGOS, 14 Av. Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
5University of Dschang, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics, MMSL, Dschang, Cameroon
Abstract. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is one of the popular statistical methods for feature extraction. The neural network model has been performed on the PCA to obtain nonlinear principal component analysis (NLPCA), which allows the extraction of nonlinear features in the dataset missed by the PCA. NLPCA is applied to the monthly Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data from the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean (29° W–21° E, 25° S–7° N) for the period 1982–2005. The focus is on the differences between SST inter-annual variability patterns; either extracted through traditional PCA or the NLPCA methods.The first mode of NLPCA explains 45.5% of the total variance of SST anomaly compared to 42% explained by the first PCA. Results from previous studies that detected the Atlantic cold tongue (ACT) as the main mode are confirmed. It is observed that the maximum signal in the Gulf of Guinea (GOG) is located along coastal Angola. In agreement with composite analysis, NLPCA exhibits two types of ACT, referred to as weak and strong Atlantic cold tongues. These two events are not totally symmetrical. NLPCA thus explains the results given by both PCA and composite analysis. A particular area observed along the northern boundary between 13 and 5° W vanishes in the strong ACT case and reaches maximum extension to the west in the weak ACT case. It is also observed that the original SST data correlates well with NLPCA and PCA, but with a stronger correlation on ACT area for NLPCA and southwest in the case of PCA.

Citation: Kenfack, S. C., Mkankam, K. F., Alory, G., du Penhoat, Y., Hounkonnou, N. M., Vondou, D. A., and Bawe, G. N.: Sea surface temperature patterns in Tropical Atlantic: principal component analysis and nonlinear principal component analysis, Nonlin. Processes Geophys. Discuss., 1, 235-267,, 2014.
S. C. Kenfack et al.
S. C. Kenfack et al.


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