Publications

2011
Chekroun, M. D., D. Kondrashov, and M. Ghil. 2011. “Predicting stochastic systems by noise sampling, and application to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation.” Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences 108 (29): 11766—11771. Publisher's Version Abstract

Interannual and interdecadal prediction are major challenges of climate dynamics. In this article we develop a prediction method for climate processes that exhibit low-frequency variability (LFV). The method constructs a nonlinear stochastic model from past observations and estimates a path of the “weather” noise that drives this model over previous finite-time windows. The method has two steps: (i) select noise samples—or “snippets”—from the past noise, which have forced the system during short-time intervals that resemble the LFV phase just preceding the currently observed state; and (ii) use these snippets to drive the system from the current state into the future. The method is placed in the framework of pathwise linear-response theory and is then applied to an El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) model derived by the empirical model reduction (EMR) methodology; this nonlinear model has 40 coupled, slow, and fast variables. The domain of validity of this forecasting procedure depends on the nature of the system’s pathwise response; it is shown numerically that the ENSO model’s response is linear on interannual time scales. As a result, the method’s skill at a 6- to 16-month lead is highly competitive when compared with currently used dynamic and statistic prediction methods for the Niño-3 index and the global sea surface temperature field.

Chekroun, Mickaël D., Eric Simonnet, and Michael Ghil. 2011. “Stochastic climate dynamics: Random attractors and time-dependent invariant measures.” Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena 240 (21): 1685 - 1700. Publisher's Version Abstract

This article attempts a unification of the two approaches that have dominated theoretical climate dynamics since its inception in the 1960s: the nonlinear deterministic and the linear stochastic one. This unification, via the theory of random dynamical systems (RDS), allows one to consider the detailed geometric structure of the random attractors associated with nonlinear, stochastically perturbed systems. We report on high-resolution numerical studies of two idealized models of fundamental interest for climate dynamics. The first of the two is a stochastically forced version of the classical Lorenz model. The second one is a low-dimensional, nonlinear stochastic model of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). These studies provide a good approximation of the two models’ global random attractors, as well as of the time-dependent invariant measures supported by these attractors; the latter are shown to have an intuitive physical interpretation as random versions of Sinaï–Ruelle–Bowen (SRB) measures.

Vimeo movie: https://vimeo.com/240039610

 

2010
Roques, Lionel, and M. D. Chekroun. 2010. “Does reaction-diffusion support the duality of fragmentation effect?” Ecological Complexity 7 (1): 100 - 106. Publisher's Version Abstract

There is a gap between single-species model predictions, and empirical studies, regarding the effect of habitat fragmentation per se, i.e., a process involving the breaking apart of habitat without loss of habitat. Empirical works indicate that fragmentation can have positive as well as negative effects, whereas, traditionally, single-species models predict a negative effect of fragmentation. Within the class of reaction-diffusion models, studies almost unanimously predict such a detrimental effect. In this paper, considering a single-species reaction-diffusion model with a removal – or similarly harvesting – term, in two dimensions, we find both positive and negative effects of fragmentation of the reserves, i.e., the protected regions where no removal occurs. Fragmented reserves lead to higher population sizes for time-constant removal terms. On the other hand, when the removal term is proportional to the population density, higher population sizes are obtained on aggregated reserves, but maximum yields are attained on fragmented configurations, and for intermediate harvesting intensities.

2008
Ghil, Michael, Mickaël D. Chekroun, and Eric Simonnet. 2008. “Climate dynamics and fluid mechanics: Natural variability and related uncertainties.” Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena 237 (14–17): 2111 - 2126. Publisher's Version Abstract
The purpose of this review-and-research paper is twofold: (i) to review the role played in climate dynamics by fluid-dynamical models; and (ii) to contribute to the understanding and reduction of the uncertainties in future climate-change projections. To illustrate the first point, we review recent theoretical advances in studying the wind-driven circulation of the oceans. In doing so, we concentrate on the large-scale, wind-driven flow of the mid-latitude oceans, which is dominated by the presence of a larger, anticyclonic and a smaller, cyclonic gyre. The two gyres share the eastward extension of western boundary currents, such as the Gulf Stream or Kuroshio, and are induced by the shear in the winds that cross the respective ocean basins. The boundary currents and eastward jets carry substantial amounts of heat and momentum, and thus contribute in a crucial way to Earth’s climate, and to changes therein. Changes in this double-gyre circulation occur from year to year and decade to decade. We study this low-frequency variability of the wind-driven, double-gyre circulation in mid-latitude ocean basins, via the bifurcation sequence that leads from steady states through periodic solutions and on to the chaotic, irregular flows documented in the observations. This sequence involves local, pitchfork and Hopf bifurcations, as well as global, homoclinic ones. The natural climate variability induced by the low-frequency variability of the ocean circulation is but one of the causes of uncertainties in climate projections. The range of these uncertainties has barely decreased, or even increased, over the last three decades. Another major cause of such uncertainties could reside in the structural instability–in the classical, topological sense–of the equations governing climate dynamics, including but not restricted to those of atmospheric and ocean dynamics. We propose a novel approach to understand, and possibly reduce, these uncertainties, based on the concepts and methods of random dynamical systems theory. The idea is to compare the climate simulations of distinct general circulation models (GCMs) used in climate projections, by applying stochastic-conjugacy methods and thus perform a stochastic classification of \GCM\ families. This approach is particularly appropriate given recent interest in stochastic parametrization of subgrid-scale processes in GCMs. As a very first step in this direction, we study the behavior of the Arnol’d family of circle maps in the presence of noise. The maps’ fine-grained resonant landscape is smoothed by the noise, thus permitting their coarse-grained classification.
2007
Roques, L., and M. D. Chekroun. 2007. “On Population resilience to external perturbations.” SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics 68 (1): 133—153. Publisher's Version Abstract
We study a spatially explicit harvesting model in periodic or bounded environments. The model is governed by a parabolic equation with a spatially dependent nonlinearity of Kolmogorov–Petrovsky–Piskunov type, and a negative external forcing term $-\delta$. Using sub- and supersolution methods and the characterization of the first eigenvalue of some linear elliptic operators, we obtain existence and nonexistence results as well as results on the number of stationary solutions. We also characterize the asymptotic behavior of the evolution equation as a function of the forcing term amplitude. In particular, we define two critical values $\delta^*$ and $\delta_2$ such that, if $\delta$ is smaller than $\delta^*$, the population density converges to a “significant" state, which is everywhere above a certain small threshold, whereas if $\delta$ is larger than $\delta_2$, the population density converges to a “remnant" state, everywhere below this small threshold. Our results are shown to be useful for studying the relationships between environmental fragmentation and maximum sustainable yield from populations. We present numerical results in the case of stochastic environments.
2006
Mickaël D. Chekroun, Lionel J. Roques. 2006. “Models of population dynamics under the influence of external perturbations: mathematical results.” Comptes Rendus Mathématique 750 (5): 291-382. Publisher's Version Abstract
Abstract In this note, we describe the stationary equilibria and the asymptotic behaviour of an heterogeneous logistic reaction-diffusion equation under the influence of autonomous or time-periodic forcing terms. We show that the study of the asymptotic behaviour in the time-periodic forcing case can be reduced to the autonomous one, the last one being described in function of the size' of the external perturbation. Our results can be interpreted in terms of maximal sustainable yields from populations. We briefly discuss this last aspect through a numerical computation. To cite this article: M.D. Chekroun, L.J. Roques, C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris, Ser. I 343 (2006). Résumé Cette Note a pour objet lʼétude des états stationnaires et du comportement asymptotique dʼéquations de réaction-diffusion avec coefficients hétérogènes en espace, auxquelles nous ajoutons un terme de perturbation stationnaire ou périodique en temps. Nos résultats peuvent sʼinterpreter en termes de prélèvement maximal supportable par une population. Nous soulignons cet aspect à lʼaide dʼun calcul numérique. Pour citer cet article : M.D. Chekroun, L.J. Roques, C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris, Ser. I 343 (2006).
Chekroun, M. D., M. Ghil, J. Roux, and F. Varadi. 2006. “Averaging of time-periodic systems without a small parameter.” Discrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems (DCDS-A) 14 (4): 753-782. Publisher's Version Abstract

In this article, we present a new approach to averaging in non-Hamiltonian systems with periodic forcing. The results here do not depend on the existence of a small parameter. In fact, we show that our averaging method fits into an appropriate nonlinear equivalence problem, and that this problem can be solved formally by using the Lie transform framework to linearize it. According to this approach, we derive formal coordinate transformations associated with both first-order and higher-order averaging, which result in more manageable formulae than the classical ones.
  Using these transformations, it is possible to correct the solution of an averaged system by recovering the oscillatory components of the original non-averaged system. In this framework, the inverse transformations are also defined explicitly by formal series; they allow the estimation of appropriate initial data for each higher-order averaged system, respecting the equivalence relation.
  Finally, we show how these methods can be used for identifying and computing periodic solutions for a very large class of nonlinear systems with time-periodic forcing. We test the validity of our approach by analyzing both the first-order and the second-order averaged system for a problem in atmospheric chemistry.

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