Empirical Comparison of Correlation Measures and Pruning Levels in Complex Networks Representing the Global Climate System
Climate change is an issue of growing economic, social, and political concern. Continued rise in the average temperatures of the Earth could lead to drastic climate change or an increased frequency of extreme events, which would negatively affect agriculture, population, and global health. One way of studying the dynamics of the Earth's changing climate is by attempting to identify regions that exhibit similar climatic behavior in terms of long-term variability. Climate networks have emerged as a strong analytics framework for both descriptive analysis and predictive modeling of the emergent phenomena. Previously, the networks were constructed using only one measure of similarity, namely the (linear) Pearson cross correlation, and were then clustered using a community detection algorithm. However, nonlinear dependencies are known to exist in climate, which begs the question whether more complex correlation measures are able to capture any such relationships. In this paper, we present a systematic study of different univariate measures of similarity and compare how each affects both the network structure as well as the predictive power of the clusters.