Nonlinear dimensionality reduction in climate data

A. J. Gámez*, Changsong ZHOU, A. Timmermann, J. Kurths

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Linear methods of dimensionality reduction are useful tools for handling and interpreting high dimensional data. However, the cumulative variance explained by each of the subspaces in which the data space is decomposed may show a slow convergence that makes the selection of a proper minimum number of subspaces for successfully representing the variability of the process ambiguous. The use of nonlinear methods can improve the embedding of multivariate data into lower dimensional manifolds. In this article, a nonlinear method for dimensionality reduction, Isomap, is applied to the sea surface temperature and thermocline data in the tropical Pacific Ocean, where the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon and the annual cycle phenomena interact. Isomap gives a more accurate description of the manifold dimensionality of the physical system. The knowledge of the minimum number of dimensions is expected to improve the development of low dimensional models for understanding and predicting ENSO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-398
Number of pages6
JournalNonlinear Processes in Geophysics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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