This paper proposes an information theory approach to estimate the number of changepoints and their locations in a climatic time series. A model is introduced that has an unknown number of changepoints and allows for series autocorrelations, periodic dynamics, and a mean shift at each changepoint time. An objective function gauging the number of changepoints and their locations, based on a minimum description length (MDL) information criterion, is derived. A genetic algorithm is then developed to optimize the objective function. The methods are applied in the analysis of a century of monthly temperatures from Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
"An MDL approach to the climate segmentation problem." Ann. Appl. Stat. 4 (1) 299 - 319, March 2010. https://doi.org/10.1214/09-AOAS289