Articles | Volume 6, issue 1
18 May 2011
 | 18 May 2011

Observations and modelling of 1/f-noise in weather and climate

R. Blender, X. Zhu, and K. Fraedrich

Abstract. Data with power spectra close to S(f)~1/f is denoted as 1/f or flicker noise. High resolution measurements during TOGA/COARE for temperature, humidity, and wind speed (1\,min resolution) reveal 1/f spectra while precipitation shows no power-law scaling during the same period. However, a binary time series indicating the precipitation events (1 for precipitation, 0 for no precipitation) shows a clear 1/f spectrum in line with the remaining boundary layer data. For extreme events in time series with 1/f spectra the return time distribution is well approximated by a Weibull-distribution for short and long return times. The daily discharge of the Yangtze river shows high volatility which is linked to the intra-annual 1/f spectrum. The discharge fluctuations detected in different time windows are represented by a single function (a so-called data collapse) similar to the universal behavior found for turbulence and various physical systems at criticality. The collapse is well described by the Gumbel distribution.