In the Theoretical Climate Dynamics (TCD) group we study climate dynamics on all time scales – from intraseasonal, through interannual and interdecadal, to millenial – using the methods of dynamical systems theory. We apply these methods to observations, numerical models, and experiments concerning the climate system – the atmosphere, ocean, bio- and cryosphere – through collaboration with researchers in North America and on other continents.

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Recent Publications

Chekroun, Mickaël D., and Dmitri Kondrashov. 2017. “Data-adaptive harmonic spectra and multilayer Stuart-Landau models.” Chaos 27: 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 coe cients stacked by Fourier frequency which can be e ciently modeled—provided the decay of temporal correlations is su ciently 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. 

Kondrashov, Dmitri, Mickaël D. Chekroun, Xiaojun Yuan, and Michael Ghil. 2018. “Data-Adaptive Harmonic Decomposition and Stochastic Modeling of Arctic Sea Ice.” Advances in Nonlinear Geosciences, edited by Anastasios Tsonis. Springer. Publisher's Version Abstract

We present and apply a novel method of describing and modeling complex multivariate datasets in the geosciences and elsewhere. Data-adaptive harmonic (DAH) decomposition identifies narrow-banded, spatio-temporal modes (DAHMs) whose frequencies are not necessarily integer multiples of each other. The evolution in time of the DAH coefficients (DAHCs) of these modes can be modeled using a set of coupled Stuart-Landau stochastic differential equations that capture the modes’ frequencies and amplitude modulation in time and space. This methodology is applied first to a challenging synthetic dataset and then to Arctic sea ice concentration (SIC) data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The 36-year (1979–2014) dataset is parsimoniously and accurately described by our DAHMs. Preliminary results indicate that simulations using our multilayer Stuart-Landau model (MSLM) of SICs are stable for much longer time intervals, beyond the end of the twenty-first century, and exhibit interdecadal variability consistent with past historical records. Preliminary results indicate that this MSLM is quite skillful in predicting September sea ice extent. 

Kondrashov, Dmitri, and Mickaël D Chekroun. 2018. “Data-adaptive harmonic analysis and modeling of solar wind-magnetosphere coupling.” Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 177: 179-189. Publisher's Version Abstract
The solar wind-magnetosphere coupling is studied by new data-adaptive harmonic decomposition (DAHD) approach for the spectral analysis and inverse modeling of multivariate time observations of complex nonlinear dynamical systems. DAHD identifies frequency-based modes of interactions in the combined dataset of Auroral Electrojet (AE) index and solar wind forcing. The time evolution of these modes can be very efficiently simulated by using systems of stochastic differential equations (SDEs) that are stacked per frequency and formed by coupled Stuart-Landau oscillators. These systems of SDEs capture the modes' frequencies as well as their amplitude modulations, and yield, in turn, an accurate modeling of the AE index' statistical properties.
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Recent Presentations

Kondrashov, Dmitri. 2017. “Data-adaptive Harmonic Decomposition and Real-time Prediction of 2016 September Arctic Sea Ice Extent.” 4th Polar Prediction Workshop, 27-30 March 2017, Bremerhaven, Germany. Workshop Website Abstract

Decline in the Arctic sea ice extent (SIE) has profound socio-economic implications and is a focus of active scientific research. Of particular interest is prediction of SIE on subseasonal time scales, i.e.~from early summer into fall, when sea ice coverage in Arctic reaches its minimum. However, subseasonal forecasting of SIE is very challenging due to the high variability of ocean and atmosphere over Arctic in summer, as well as shortness of observational data and inadequacies of the physics-based models to simulate sea-ice dynamics. The Sea Ice Outlook (SIO) by Sea Ice Prediction Network (SIPN, is a collaborative effort to facilitate and improve subseasonal prediction of September SIE by physics-based and data-driven statistical models.

Data-adaptive Harmonic Decomposition (DAH) and Multilayer Stuart-Landau Models (MSLM) techniques [Chekroun and Kondrashov, 2017], have been successfully applied to the nonlinear stochastic modeling, as well as retrospective and real-time forecasting of Multisensor Analyzed Sea Ice Extent (MASIE) dataset in key four Arctic regions. In particular, the real-time DAH-MSLM predictions outperformed most statistical models and physics-based models in 2016 SIO submissions. The key success factors are associated with DAH ability to disentangle complex regional dynamics of MASIE by data-adaptive harmonic spatio-temporal patterns that reduce the data-driven modeling effort to elemental MSLMs stacked per frequency with fixed and small number of model coefficients to estimate.

This is a joint work with Mickael Chekroun (UCLA) and Michael Ghil (UCLA,ENS). 

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