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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 5, 2024
  2. Donna LaLonde and Wendy Martinez (Ed.)
  3. Abstract

    Climate changepoint (homogenization) methods abound today, with a myriad of techniques existing in both the climate and statistics literature. Unfortunately, the appropriate changepoint technique to use remains unclear to many. Further complicating issues, changepoint conclusions are not robust to perturbations in assumptions; for example, allowing for a trend or correlation in the series can drastically change changepoint conclusions. This paper is a review of the topic, with an emphasis on illuminating the models and techniques that allow the scientist to make reliable conclusions. Pitfalls to avoid are demonstrated via actual applications. The discourse begins by narrating the salient statistical features of most climate time series. Thereafter, single- and multiple-changepoint problems are considered. Several pitfalls are discussed en route and good practices are recommended. While most of our applications involve temperatures, a sea ice series is also considered.

    Significance Statement

    This paper reviews the methods used to identify and analyze the changepoints in climate data, with a focus on helping scientists make reliable conclusions. The paper discusses common mistakes and pitfalls to avoid in changepoint analysis and provides recommendations for best practices. The paper also provides examples of how these methods have been applied to temperature and sea ice data. The main goal of the paper is to provide guidance on how to effectively identify the changepoints in climate time series and homogenize the series.

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  4. Abstract This paper presents a statistical analysis of structural changes in the Central England temperature series, one of the longest surface temperature records available. A changepoint analysis is performed to detect abrupt changes, which can be regarded as a preliminary step before further analysis is conducted to identify the causes of the changes (e.g., artificial, human-induced or natural variability). Regression models with structural breaks, including mean and trend shifts, are fitted to the series and compared via two commonly used multiple changepoint penalized likelihood criteria that balance model fit quality (as measured by likelihood) against parsimony considerations. Our changepoint model fits, with independent and short-memory errors, are also compared with a different class of models termed long-memory models that have been previously used by other authors to describe persistence features in temperature series. In the end, the optimal model is judged to be one containing a changepoint in the late 1980s, with a transition to an intensified warming regime. This timing and warming conclusion is consistent across changepoint models compared in this analysis. The variability of the series is not found to be significantly changing, and shift features are judged to be more plausible than either short- or long-memory autocorrelations. The final proposed model is one including trend-shifts (both intercept and slope parameters) with independent errors. The analysis serves as a walk-through tutorial of different changepoint techniques, illustrating what can be statistically inferred. 
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  5. This article studies estimation of a stationary autocovariance structure in the presence of an unknown number of mean shifts. Here, a Yuleโ€“Walker moment estimator for the autoregressive parameters in a dependent time series contaminated by mean shift changepoints is proposed and studied. The estimator is based on first order differences of the series and is proven consistent and asymptotically normal when the number of changepoints m and the series length N satisfy ๐‘š/๐‘โ†’0 as ๐‘โ†’โˆž. 
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