On the data-driven inference of modulatory networks in climate science: An application to West African rainfall

D. L. González, M. P. Angus, I. K. Tetteh, G. A. Bello, K. Padmanabhan, S. V. Pendse, S. Srinivas, J. Yu, F. Semazzi, V. Kumar, N. F. Samatova

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3 Scopus citations


Decades of hypothesis-driven and/or first-principles research have been applied towards the discovery and explanation of the mechanisms that drive climate phenomena, such as western African Sahel summer rainfall∼variability. Although connections between various climate factors have been theorized, not all of the key relationships are fully understood. We propose a data-driven approach to identify candidate players in this climate system, which can help explain underlying mechanisms and/or even suggest new relationships, to facilitate building a more comprehensive and predictive model of the modulatory relationships influencing a climate phenomenon of interest. We applied coupled heterogeneous association rule mining (CHARM), Lasso multivariate regression, and dynamic Bayesian networks to find relationships within a complex system, and explored means with which to obtain a consensus result from the application of such varied methodologies. Using this fusion of approaches, we identified relationships among climate factors that modulate Sahel rainfall. These relationships fall into two categories: well-known associations from prior climate knowledge, such as the relationship with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and putative links, such as North Atlantic Oscillation, that invite further research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-46
Number of pages14
JournalNonlinear Processes in Geophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 13 2015

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© Author(s) 2015.


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