Developing a complex independent component analysis (CICA) technique to extract non-stationary patterns from geophysical time series

Ehsan Forootan, Jürgen Kusche, Matthieu J Talpe , CK Shum, Michael Schmidt

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

10 Citationer (Scopus)


In recent decades, decomposition techniques have enabled increasingly more applications for dimension reduction, as well as extraction of additional information from geophysical time series. Traditionally, the principal component analysis (PCA)/empirical orthogonal function (EOF) method and more recently the independent component analysis (ICA) have been applied to extract, statistical orthogonal (uncorrelated), and independent modes that represent the maximum variance of time series, respectively. PCA and ICA can be classified as stationary signal decomposition techniques since they are based on decomposing the autocovariance matrix and diagonalizing higher (than two) order statistical tensors from centered time series, respectively. However, the stationarity assumption in these techniques is not justified for many geophysical and climate variables even after removing cyclic components, e.g., the commonly removed dominant seasonal cycles. In this paper, we present a novel decomposition method, the complex independent component analysis (CICA), which can be applied to extract non-stationary (changing in space and time) patterns from geophysical time series. Here, CICA is derived as an extension of real-valued ICA, where (a) we first define a new complex dataset that contains the observed time series in its real part, and their Hilbert transformed series as its imaginary part, (b) an ICA algorithm based on diagonalization of fourth-order cumulants is then applied to decompose the new complex dataset in (a), and finally, (c) the dominant independent complex modes are extracted and used to represent the dominant space and time amplitudes and associated phase propagation patterns. The performance of CICA is examined by analyzing synthetic data constructed from multiple physically meaningful modes in a simulation framework, with known truth. Next, global terrestrial water storage (TWS) data from the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) gravimetry mission (2003–2016), and satellite radiometric sea surface temperature (SST) data (1982–2016) over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are used with the aim of demonstrating signal separations of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) from the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO), and the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) from the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). CICA results indicate that ENSO-related patterns can be extracted from the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment Terrestrial Water Storage (GRACE TWS) with an accuracy of 0.5–1 cm in terms of equivalent water height (EWH). The magnitude of errors in extracting NAO or AMO from SST data using the complex EOF (CEOF) approach reaches up to ~50% of the signal itself, while it is reduced to ~16% when applying CICA. Larger errors with magnitudes of ~100% and ~30% of the signal itself are found while separating ENSO from PDO using CEOF and CICA, respectively. We thus conclude that the CICA is more effective than CEOF in separating non-stationary patterns.
TidsskriftSurveys in Geophysics
Sider (fra-til)435-465
Antal sider31
StatusUdgivet - 2018
Udgivet eksterntJa


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