Research Interests

From Chekroun et al. (2011), Physica D, 240 (21): 1685-1700:

Recent Publications

Chekroun, M. D., M. Ghil, and J. D. Neelin. In Press, 2017. “Pullback attractor crisis in a delay differential ENSO model.” Advances in Nonlinear Geosciences, A. Tsonis. Springer. Research Gate version Abstract

We study the pullback attractor (PBA) of a seasonally forced delay differential model for the El Ni\~no--Southern Oscillation (ENSO); the model has two delays, associated with a positive and a negative feedback. The control parameter is the intensity of the positive feedback and the PBA undergoes a crisis that consists of a chaos-to-chaos transition. Since  the PBA is dominated by chaotic behavior, we refer to it as a strange PBA. Both chaotic regimes correspond to an overlapping of resonances but the two differ by the properties of this overlapping. The crisis manifests itself by a brutal change not only in the size but also in the shape of the PBA. The change is associated with the sudden disappearance of the most extreme warm (El Ni\~no) and cold (La Ni\~na) events, as one crosses the critical parameter value from below.  The analysis reveals that regions of the strange PBA that survive the crisis are those populated by the most probable states of the system. These regions are those that exhibit robust foldings with respect to perturbations.  The effect of noise on this phase-and-paramater space behavior is then discussed. It is shown that the chaos-to-chaos crisis may or may not survive the addition of small noise to the evolution equation, depending on how the noise enters the latter.

Optimal control problems of nonlinear delay  equations (DDEs) are considered for which we propose a general Galerkin approximation scheme built from Koornwinder polynomials. Error estimates for the resulting Galerkin-Koornwinder approximations to the optimal control and the value function, are derived for a broad class of cost functionals and nonlinear DDEs. The approach is illustrated on a delayed logistic equation set not far away from its Hopf bifurcation point in the parameter space. In this case, we show that low-dimensional controls for a standard quadratic cost functional can be efficiently computed from Galerkin-Koornwinder approximations to reduce at a nearly optimal cost the oscillation amplitude displayed by the DDE's solution. Optimal controls computed from the Pontryagin's maximum principle (PMP) and the Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman equation (HJB) associated with the corresponding ODE systems, are shown to provide numerical solutions in good agreement. It is finally argued that the value function computed from the  corresponding reduced HJB equation provides a good approximation of that obtained from the full HJB equation.

Value function solving the reduced HJB equation

Tantet, Alexis, Mickaël D. Chekroun, Henk A. Dijkstra, and J. David Neelin. Submitted. “Mixing Spectrum in Reduced Phase Spaces of Stochastic Differential Equations. Part II: Stochastic Hopf Bifurcation”. ArXiv's Version Abstract

The spectrum of the Markov semigroup of a diffusion process, referred to as the mixing spectrum, provides a detailed characterization of the dynamics of statistics such as the correlation function and the power spectrum. Stochastic analysis techniques for the study of the mixing spectrum and a rigorous reduction method have been presented in the first part (Chekroun et al. 2017) of this contribution. This framework is now applied to the study of a stochastic Hopf bifurcation, to characterize the statistical properties of nonlinear oscillators perturbed by noise, depending on their stability. In light of the H\"ormander theorem, it is first shown that the geometry of the unperturbed limit cycle, in particular its isochrons, i.e., the leaves of the stable manifold of the limit cycle generalizing the notion of phase, is essential to understand the effect of the noise and the phenomenon of phase diffusion. In addition, it is shown that the mixing spectrum has a spectral gap, even at the bifurcation point, and that correlations decay exponentially fast. Small-noise expansions of the eigenvalues and eigenfunctions are then obtained, away from the bifurcation point, based on the knowledge of the linearized deterministic dynamics and the characteristics of the noise. These formulas allow to understand how the interaction of the noise with the deterministic dynamics affect the decay of correlations. Numerical results complement the study of the mixing spectrum at the bifurcation point, revealing interesting scaling laws. The analysis of the Markov semigroup for stochastic bifurcations is thus promising in providing a complementary approach to the more geometric random dynamical systems. This approach is not limited to low-dimensional systems and the reduction method presented in part I will be applied to stochastic models relevant to climate dynamics in Part III.

Chekroun, Mickaël D., and Dmitri Kondrashov. 2017. “Data-adaptive harmonic spectra and multilayer Stuart-Landau models.” Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science 27 (9): 093110. Publisher's version Abstract

Harmonic decompositions of multivariate time series are considered for which we adopt an integral operator approach with  
periodic semigroup kernels. Spectral decomposition theorems are derived that cover the important cases of two-time statistics drawn from a mixing invariant measure.  

The corresponding eigenvalues can be grouped per Fourier frequency, and are actually given, at each frequency, as the singular values of a cross-spectral matrix depending on the data. These eigenvalues obey furthermore a variational principle that allows us to define naturally a multidimensional power spectrum.  The eigenmodes, as far as they are concerned, exhibit a data-adaptive character manifested in their phase which allows us in turn to define a multidimensional phase spectrum.

The resulting data-adaptive harmonic (DAH) modes allow for reducing the data-driven modeling effort to elemental models stacked per frequency, only coupled at different frequencies by the same noise realization. In particular, the DAH decomposition extracts time-dependent coefficients stacked by Fourier frequency which can be efficiently modeled---provided the decay of temporal correlations is sufficiently well-resolved---within a class of multilayer stochastic models (MSMs) tailored here on stochastic Stuart-Landau oscillators.

Applications to the Lorenz 96 model and to a stochastic heat equation driven by a space-time white noise, are considered. In both cases, the DAH decomposition allows for an extraction of spatio-temporal modes revealing key features of the dynamics in the embedded phase space. The multilayer Stuart-Landau models (MSLMs) are shown to successfully model the typical patterns of the corresponding time-evolving fields, as well as their statistics of occurrence.

Chekroun, Mickaël D., Axel Kröner, and Honghu Liu. 2017. “Galerkin approximations of nonlinear optimal control problems in Hilbert spaces.” Electronic Journal of Differential Equations 2017 (189): 1-40. Publisher's version Abstract

Nonlinear optimal control problems in Hilbert spaces are considered for which we derive approximation theorems for Galerkin approximations. Approximation theorems are available in the literature. The originality of our approach
relies on the identification of a set of natural assumptions that allows us to deal with a broad class of nonlinear evolution equations and cost functionals for which we derive convergence of the value functions associated with the optimal control problem of the Galerkin approximations. This convergence result holds for a broad class of nonlinear control strategies as well. In particular, we show that the framework applies to the optimal control of semilinear heat equations posed on a general compact manifold without boundary.   The framework is then shown to apply to geoengineering and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions formulated here in terms of optimal control of energy balance climate models posed on the sphere S2.  

Boers, N., M. D. Chekroun, H. Liu, D. Kondrashov, D.-D. Rousseau, A. Svensson, M. Bigler, and M. Ghil. 2017. “Inverse stochastic-dynamic models for high-resolution Greenland ice-core records.” Earth System Dynamics Discussions 2017: 1–28. Publisher's Version Abstract

Proxy records from Greenland ice cores have been studied for several decades, yet many open questions remain regarding the climate variability encoded therein. Here, we use a Bayesian framework for inferring inverse, stochastic-dynamic models from δ18O and dust records of unprecedented, subdecadal temporal resolution. The records stem from the North Greenland Ice Core Project (NGRIP) and we focus on the time interval 59 ka–22 ka b2k. Our model reproduces the dynamical characteristics of both the δ18O and dust proxy records, including the millennial-scale Dansgaard–Oeschger variability, as well as statistical properties such as probability density functions, waiting times and power spectra, with no need for any external forcing. The crucial ingredients for capturing these properties are (i) high-resolution training data; (ii) cubic drift terms; (iii) nonlinear coupling terms between the δ18O and dust time series; and (iv) non-Markovian contributions that represent short-term memory effects.