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Statistical techniques to select detection thresholds for peak signals in ice-core data

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Five statistical techniques to determine peaks in ice-core time series are presented and compared. The ice-core time series, representing different signal characteristics, comprise electrical conductivity measurements (ECM), dielectric properties (DEP) and sulphate. Three techniques (I–III) utilize all the data in the time series to estimate significant thresholds for identifying peaks. Technique IV applies a moving window and conducts a statistical inference within the defined window. In technique V, a family of smoothed estimates of the ice-core time series is produced, and statistical tests are performed on the significant changes in the derivative of the estimates. The correction of the significance level, α, due to multiple tests is introduced and implemented in techniques II–V. The threshold obtained by techniques I–III is determined by the influence of the error term on the global variance estimate, whereas the threshold of IV is determined by the data within the window. The success of identifying peaks with technique V is dependent on the redundancy in the data, i.e. the sampling rate. It is concluded that techniques II and III are superior to the other techniques due to their simplicity and robustness.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/172756505781829115

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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