Modelling directionality for paleoclimatic time series

Mahayaudin M. Mansor, Farah L. Mohd. Isa, David A. Green, Andrew V. Metcalfe


The ice core time series from Vostok Station in Antarctica and the North Greenland Ice Core Project have seasonal variation corresponding to the Milankovitch cycles. After removing these cycles, and interpolating to equal time intervals, stationary time series models are fitted. The series show clear directionality and this feature is modelled by either non-Gaussian errors or non-linear time series models. Threshold autoregressive models are fitted by penalized least squares and compared with non-threshold autoregressive models. Since both ice core time series are reasonably modelled as first order autoregressive series with parameters close to one, directionality will arise from non-symmetric error distributions. However, two regime threshold autoregressive models, of order one and two for Greenland and Vostok, respectively, give an improved match to the observed directionality and a reduced sum of squared residuals. Realizations from the threshold autoregressive models are noticeably different from the non-threshold models. Since the non-threshold models are a restricted case of the threshold models, and the threshold models are a better fit to the observed time series, threshold models should provide more realistic realizations.

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Directional time series; reversibility; ice cores; threshold autoregressive models; penalised least squares

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