This study was initiated during a visit of one of the authors (XZ) to the Institute of Statistical Mathematics (ISM) in Tokyo under the support of a Visiting Fellowship offered by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture. XZ thanks Prof. T. Ozaki of ISM for his hospitality. The study has been continued under the support of the Foundation for Research Science and Technology of New Zealand under Contract CO1628. The surface temperature data we used were obtained from the Climate Research Unit, University of East Anglia and the reanalysis data from the NCAR Data Support Section. We wish to thank Dr. F. Zwiers and the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.
Alexander, M. A., and C. Deser, 1995: A mechanism for the recurrence of wintertime midlatitude SST anomalies. J. Climate,8, 122–137.
Basher, R. E., and C. S. Thompson, 1996: Relationship of air temperature in New Zealand to regional anomalies in sea-surface temperature and atmospheric circulation. Int. J. Climatol.,16, 405–425.
Bjerknes, J., 1969: Atmospheric teleconnection from the equatorial Pacific. Mon. Wea. Rev.,97, 163–172.
Blackmon, M. L., 1976: A climatological spectral study of the 500-mb geopotential height of the Northern Hemisphere. J. Atmos. Sci.,33, 1607–1623.
——, Y.-H. Lee, and J. M. Wallace, 1984: Horizontal structure of 500-mb height fluctuations with long, intermediate, and short time scales. J. Atmos. Sci.,41, 961–979.
Cane, M. A., 1986: El Niño. Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci.,14, 43–70.
Cayan, D. R., 1980: Large-scale relationships between sea surface temperature and surface air temperature. Mon. Wea. Rev.,108, 1293–1301.
Epstein, E. S., 1991: Determining the optimum number of harmonics to represent normals based on multiyear data. J. Climate,4, 1047–1051.
Hoerling, M. P., and M. Ting, 1994: Organization of extratropical transients during El Niño. J. Climate,7, 745–766.
Holton, J. R., 1992: An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology. 3d ed. International Geophysics Series, Vol. 48, Academic Press, 511 pp.
Honda, M., K. Yamazaki, H. Nakamura, and K. Takeuchi, 1999: Dynamic and thermodynamic characteristics of atmospheric response to anomalous sea-ice extent in the Sea of Okhotsk. J. Climate,12, 3347–3358.
Horel, J. D., and J. M. Wallace, 1981: Planetary-scale atmospheric phenomena associated with the Southern Oscillation. Mon. Wea. Rev.,109, 813–829.
Hurrel, J. W., 1995: Transient eddy forcing of the rotational flow during northern winter. J. Atmos. Sci.,52, 2286–2301.
Iwasaka, N., J. Hanawa, and Y. Yoba, 1987: Analysis of SST anomalies in the North Pacific and their relation to 500 mb height anomalies over the Northern Hemisphere during 1969–1979. J. Meteor. Soc. Japan,65, 103–114.
Jones, P. D., 1996: Hemispheric and global temperatures, 1851–1996. Part 1. Climate Monit.,25, 20–30.
Jones, R. H., 1975: Estimating the variance of time averages. J. Appl. Meteor.,14, 159–163.
——, 1993: Longitudinal Data with Serial Correlation: A State-Space Approach. Chapman and Hall, 225 pp.
Kalnay, E., and Coauthors, 1996: The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,77, 437–471.
Kidson, J. W., 1999: Principal modes of Southern Hemisphere low-frequency variability obtained from NCEP–NCAR reanalyses. J. Climate,12, 2808–2830.
Kleeman, R., and A. M. Moore, 1997: A theory for the limitation of ENSO predictability due to stochastic atmospheric transients. J. Atmos. Sci.,54, 753–767.
Kushnir, Y., and J. M. Wallace, 1989: Low-frequency variability in the Northern Hemisphere winter: Geographical distribution, structure and time-scale dependence. J. Atmos. Sci.,46, 3122–3142.
Lau, N.-C., 1988: Variability of the observed midlatitude stormtracks in relation to low-frequency changes in the circulation pattern. J. Atmos. Sci.,45, 2718–2743.
——, and M. J. Nath, 1991: Variability of the baroclinic and barotropic transient eddy forcing associated with monthly changes in the midlatitude storm tracks. J. Atmos. Sci.,48, 2589–2613.
——, and ——, 1994: A modeling study of the relative roles of the tropical and extratropical SST anomalies in the variability of the global atmosphere–ocean system. J. Climate,7, 1184–1207.
Leith, C. E., 1973: The standard error of time-average estimates of climatic means. J. Appl. Meteor.,12, 1066–1069.
Lorenz, E. N., 1970: Climate change as a mathematical problem. J. Appl. Meteor.,9, 325–329.
Madden, R. A., 1976: Estimates of the natural variability of time averaged sea level pressure. Mon. Wea. Rev.,104, 942–952.
——, 1981: A quantitative approach to long-range prediction. J. Geophys. Res.,86, 9817–9825.
——, 1983: Reply. Mon. Wea. Rev.,111, 586–589.
——, and P. R. Julian, 1971: Detection of a 40–50 day oscillation in the zonal wind in the tropical Pacific. J. Atmos. Sci.,28, 702–708.
——, and ——, 1972: Detection of global-scale circulation cells in the tropics with a 40–50 day period. J. Atmos. Sci.,29, 1109–1123.
——, and D. J. Shea, 1978: Estimates of the natural variability of time-averaged temperatures over the United States. Mon. Wea. Rev.,106, 1695–1703.
——, and J. W. Kidson, 1997: The potential long-range predictability of temperature over New Zealand. Int. J. Climatol.,17, 483–495.
Manabe, S., R. J. Stouffer, M. J. Spelman, and K. Bryan, 1991: Transient responses of a coupled ocean–atmosphere model to gradual changes of atmospheric CO2. Part I: Annual mean response. J. Climate,4, 785–818.
——, M. J. Spelman, and R. J. Stouffer, 1992: Transient responses of a coupled ocean–atmosphere model to gradual changes of atmospheric CO2. Part II: Seasonal response. J. Climate,5, 105–126.
Nakamura, H., and T. Yamagata, 1999: Recent decadal SST variability in the Northwestern Pacific and associated atmospheric anomalies. Beyond El Niño: Decadal and Interdecadal Climate Variability, A. Navarra, Ed., Springer, 49–72.
Nicholls, N., 1983: The potential for long-range prediction of seasonal mean temperature in Australia. Aust. Meteor. Mag.,31, 203–207.
Rao, C. R., 1973: Linear Statistical Inference and Its Applications. John Wiley and Sons, 625 pp.
Rasmusson, E. M., and T. H. Carpenter, 1982: Variations in tropical sea surface temperature and surface wind fields associated with the Southern Oscillation/El Niño. Mon. Wea. Rev.,110, 354–384.
Renwick, J. A., 1998: ENSO-related variability in the frequency of South Pacific blocking. Mon. Wea. Rev.,126, 3117–3123.
Rowntree, P. R., 1972: The influence of the tropical east Pacific Ocean temperature on the atmosphere. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc.,98, 290–321.
Shea, D. J., and R. A. Madden, 1990: Potential for long-range prediction of monthly mean surface temperatures over North America. J. Climate,3, 1444–1451.
Shukla, J., 1983: Comments on “Natural variability and predictability.” Mon. Wea. Rev.,111, 581–585.
——, 1998: Predictability in the midst of chaos: A scientific basis for climate forecasting. Science,282, 728–731.
Sinclair, M. R., 1996: A climatology of anticyclones and blocking for the Southern Hemisphere. Mon. Wea. Rev.,124, 245–263.
StatSci., 1993: S-PLUS Guide to Statistical and Mathematical Analysis Version 3.2. Statistical Sciences, 630 pp.
Trenberth, K. E., 1981: Observed Southern Hemisphere eddy statistics at 500 mb: Frequency and spatial dependence. J. Atmos. Sci.,38, 2585–2605.
——, 1982: Seasonality in Southern Hemisphere eddy statistics at 500 mb. J. Atmos. Sci.,39, 2507–2520.
——, 1984: Some effects of finite sample size and persistence on meteorological statistics. Part II: Potential predictability. Mon. Wea. Rev.,112, 2369–2379.
van Loon, H., and J. C. Rodgers, 1978: The seesaw in winter temperatures between Greenland and Northern Europe. Part I: General description. Mon. Wea. Rev.,106, 296–310.
Wallace, J. M., and D. S. Gutzler, 1981: Teleconnections in the geopotential height field during the Northern Hemisphere winter. Mon. Wea. Rev.,109, 784–812.
White, W. B., and R. G. Peterson, 1996: An Antarctic circumpolar wave in surface pressure, wind, temperature and sea-ice extent. Nature,380, 699–702.
Zheng, X., 1996: Unbiased estimation of autocorrelations of daily meteorological variables. J. Climate,9, 2197–2203.
——, and C. S. Frederiksen, 1999: Validating interannual variability in an ensemble of AGCM simulations. J. Climate,12, 2386–2396.
Zwiers, F. W., 1987: A potential predictability study conducted with an atmospheric general circulation model. Mon. Wea. Rev.,115, 2957–2974.
——, 1996: Interannual variability and predictability in an ensemble of AMIP climate simulations conducted with the CCC GCM2. Climate Dyn.,12, 825–847.
——, and H. von Storch, 1995: Taking serial correlation into account in tests of mean. J. Climate,8, 336–351.