Atmosphere & climate

2018
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, Mickaël D. Chekroun, and Michael Ghil. 2018. “Data-adaptive harmonic decomposition and prediction of Arctic sea ice extent.” Dynamics and Statistics of the Climate System 3 (1): dzy001. Publisher's Version Abstract
Decline in the Arctic sea ice extent (SIE) is an area of active scientific research with profound socio-economic implications. Of particular interest are reliable methods for SIE forecasting on subseasonal time scales, in particular from early summer into fall, when sea ice coverage in the Arctic reaches its minimum. Here, we apply the recent data-adaptive harmonic (DAH) technique of Chekroun and Kondrashov, (2017), Chaos, 27 for the description, modeling and prediction of the Multisensor Analyzed Sea Ice Extent (MASIE, 2006–2016) data set. The DAH decomposition of MASIE identifies narrowband, spatio-temporal data-adaptive modes over four key Arctic regions. The time evolution of the DAH coefficients of these modes can be modelled and predicted by using a set of coupled Stuart–Landau stochastic differential equations that capture the modes’ frequencies and amplitude modulation in time. Retrospective forecasts show that our resulting multilayer Stuart–Landau model (MSLM) is quite skilful in predicting September SIE compared to year-to-year persistence; moreover, the DAH–MSLM approach provided accurate real-time prediction that was highly competitive for the 2016–2017 Sea Ice Outlook.
Kondrashov, Dmitri, Mickaël D. Chekroun, and Pavel Berloff. 2018. “Multiscale Stuart-Landau Emulators: Application to Wind-Driven Ocean Gyres.” Fluids 3 (1): 21. Publisher's Version Abstract

The multiscale variability of the ocean circulation due to its nonlinear dynamics remains a big challenge for theoretical understanding and practical ocean modeling. This paper demonstrates how the data-adaptive harmonic (DAH) decomposition and inverse stochastic modeling techniques introduced in (Chekroun and Kondrashov, (2017), Chaos, 27), allow for reproducing with high fidelity the main statistical properties of multiscale variability in a coarse-grained eddy-resolving ocean flow. This fully-data-driven approach relies on extraction of frequency-ranked time-dependent coefficients describing the evolution of spatio-temporal DAH modes (DAHMs) in the oceanic flow data. In turn, the time series of these coefficients are efficiently modeled by a family of low-order stochastic differential equations (SDEs) stacked per frequency, involving a fixed set of predictor functions and a small number of model coefficients. These SDEs take the form of stochastic oscillators, identified as multilayer Stuart–Landau models (MSLMs), and their use is justified by relying on the theory of Ruelle–Pollicott resonances. The good modeling skills shown by the resulting DAH-MSLM emulators demonstrates the feasibility of using a network of stochastic oscillators for the modeling of geophysical turbulence. In a certain sense, the original quasiperiodic Landau view of turbulence, with the amendment of the inclusion of stochasticity, may be well suited to describe turbulence. 

Sainte Fare Garnot, Vivien, Andreas Groth, and Michael Ghil. 2018. “Coupled Climate-Economic Modes in the Sahel's Interannual Variability.” Ecological Economics 153. Elsevier BV: 111–123. Abstract
We study the influence of interannual climate variability on the economy of several countries in the Sahel region. In the agricultural sector, we are able to identify coupled climate-economic modes that are statistically significant on interannual time scales. In particular, precipitation is a key climatic factor for agriculture in this semi-arid region. Locality and diversity characterize the Sahel's climatic and economic system, with the coupled climate-economic patterns exhibiting substantial differences from country to country. Large-scale atmospheric patterns — like the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and its quasi-biennial and quasi-quadrennial oscillatory modes — have quite limited influence on the economies, while more location-specific rainfall patterns play an important role.
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Ghil, Michael, Andreas Groth, Dmitri Kondrashov, and Andrew W. Robertson. 2018. “Extratropical sub-seasonal–to–seasonal oscillations and multiple regimes: The dynamical systems view.” The Gap between Weather and Climate Forecasting: Sub-Seasonal to Seasonal Prediction, edited by Andrew W. Robertson and Frederic Vitart, 1st ed., 119-142. Elsevier. Publisher's Version Abstract

This chapter considers the sub-seasonal–to–seasonal (S2S) prediction problem as intrinsically more difficult than either short-range weather prediction or interannual–to–multidecadal climate prediction. The difficulty arises from the comparable importance of atmospheric initial states and of parameter values in determining the atmospheric evolution on the S2S time scale. The chapter relies on the theoretical framework of dynamical systems and the practical tools this framework helps provide to low-order modeling and prediction of S2S variability. The emphasis is on mid-latitude variability and the complementarity of the nonlinear-waves vs. multiple-regime points of view in understanding this variability. Empirical model reduction and the forecast skill of the models thus produced in real-time prediction are reviewed.

2017
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, http://www.arcus.org/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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Ghil, Michael. 2017. “The Mathematics of Climate Change and of its Impacts.” Workshop on "Mathematical Approaches to Climate Change Impacts - MAC2I" at the Istituto Nazionale di Alta Matematica "Francesco Severi" (INdAM), Italy. Workshop website Abstract

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Ghil, Michael. 2017. “Circulation Regimes for the Hitchhiker Through the Galaxy.” Physics school on Diversity of Planetary Circulation Regimes, in our Solar System and beyond, Les Houches, France, March 2017. Conference website Abstract

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Ghil, Michael. 2017. “The atmosphere and oceans as unsteady flows: Intrinsic variability and time-dependent forcing.” BIRS Workshop 17w5048 - Transport in Unsteady Flows: from Deterministic Structures to Stochastic Models and Back Again. Workshop website Abstract
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Groth, Andreas, Yizhak Feliks, Dmitri Kondrashov, and Michael Ghil. 2017. “Interannual variability in the North Atlantic ocean’s temperature field and its association with the wind stress forcing.” Journal of Climate 30 (7): 2655-2678. Abstract

Spectral analyses of the North Atlantic temperature field in the Simple Ocean Data Analysis (SODA) reanalysis identify prominent and statistically significant interannual oscillations along the Gulf Stream front and in large regions of the North Atlantic. A 7–8-yr oscillatory mode is characterized by a basin-wide southwest-to-northeast–oriented propagation pattern in the sea surface temperature (SST) field. This pattern is found to be linked to a seesaw in the meridional-dipole structure of the zonal wind stress forcing (TAUX). In the subpolar gyre, the SST and TAUX fields of this mode are shown to be in phase opposition, which suggests a cooling effect of the wind stress on the upper ocean layer. Over all, this mode’s temperature field is characterized by a strong equivalent-barotropic component, as shown by covariations in SSTs and sea surface heights, and by phase-coherent behavior of temperature layers at depth with the SST field. Recent improvements of multivariate singular spectrum analysis (M-SSA) help separate spatio-temporal patterns. This methodology is developed further and applied to studying the ocean’s response to variability in the atmospheric forcing. Statistical evidence is shown to exist for other mechanisms generating oceanic variability of similar 7–8-yr periodicity in the Gulf Stream region; the latter variability is likewise characterized by a strongly equivalent-barotropic component. Two other modes of biennial variability in the Gulf Stream region are also identified, and it is shown that interannual variability in this region cannot be explained by the ocean’s response to similar variability in the atmospheric forcing alone.

PDF North Atlantic SST 7.7-yr mode
2016

Spectral analyses of the North Atlantic temperature field in the Simple Ocean Data Analysis (SODA) reanalysis identify prominent and statistically significant interannual oscillations along the Gulf Stream front and in large regions of the North Atlantic. A 7--8-yr oscillatory mode is characterized by a basin-wide southwest-to-northeast--oriented propagation pattern in the sea-surface temperature (SST) field. This pattern is found to be linked to a seesaw in the meridional-dipole structure of the zonal wind-stress forcing (TAUX). In the subpolar gyre, the SST and TAUX fields of this mode are shown to be in phase opposition, which suggests a cooling effect of the wind stress on the upper ocean layer. Over all, this mode's temperature field is characterized by a strong equivalent-barotropic component, as shown by covariations in SST and sea-surface height (SSH), and by phase-coherent behavior of temperature layers at depth with the SST field. On the other hand, this mode shares many features of the gyre mode and raises the possibilty for the existence of an intrinsic oceanic mode of similar 7--8-yr period in the Gulf Stream region.

PDF North Atlantic SST 7.7-yr mode
Hannart, A., A. Carrassi, M. Bocquet, Michael Ghil, P. Naveau, M. Pulido, J. Ruiz, and P. Tandeo. 2016. “DADA: data assimilation for the detection and attribution of weather and climate-related events.” Climatic Change 136 (2): 155–174. Publisher's Version Abstract

We describe a new approach that allows for systematic causal attribution of weather and climate-related events, in near-real time. The method is designed so as to facilitate its implementation at meteorological centers by relying on data and methods that are routinely available when numerically forecasting the weather. We thus show that causal attribution can be obtained as a by-product of data assimilation procedures run on a daily basis to update numerical weather prediction (NWP) models with new atmospheric observations; hence, the proposed methodology can take advantage of the powerful computational and observational capacity of weather forecasting centers. We explain the theoretical rationale of this approach and sketch the most prominent features of a ``data assimilation–based detection and attribution'' (DADA) procedure. The proposal is illustrated in the context of the classical three-variable Lorenz model with additional forcing. The paper concludes by raising several theoretical and practical questions that need to be addressed to make the proposal operational within NWP centers.

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Ghil, Michael. 2016. “A Mathematical Theory of Climate Sensitivity: A Tale of Deterministic & Stochastic Dynamical Systems.” 11th AIMS Conf. on Dynamical Systems, Differential Equations & Applications, Honoring Peter Lax’s 90th Birthday, Orlando, FL, July 2016. Abstract

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Feliks, Yizhak, Andrew W. Robertson, and Michael Ghil. 2016. “Interannual Variability in North Atlantic Weather: Data Analysis and a Quasigeostrophic Model.” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 73 (8): 3227-3248. Abstract

This paper addresses the effect of interannual variability in jet stream orientation on weather systems over the North Atlantic basin (NAB). The observational analysis relies on 65 yr of NCEP–NCAR reanalysis (1948–2012). The total daily kinetic energy of the geostrophic wind (GTKE) is taken as a measure of storm activity over the North Atlantic. The NAB is partitioned into four rectangular regions, and the winter average of GTKE is calculated for each quadrant. The spatial GTKE average over all four quadrants shows striking year-to-year variability and is strongly correlated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).The GTKE strength in the northeast quadrant is closely related to the diffluence angle of the jet stream in the northwest quadrant. To gain insight into the relationship between the diffluence angle and its downstream impact, a quasigeostrophic baroclinic model is used. The results show that an initially zonal jet persists at its initial latitude over 30 days or longer, while a tilted jet propagates meridionally according to the Rossby wave group velocity, unless kept stationary by external forcing.A Gulf Stream–like narrow sea surface temperature (SST) front provides the requisite forcing for an analytical steady-state solution to this problem. This SST front influences the atmospheric jet in the northwest quadrant: it both strengthens the jet and tilts it northward at higher levels, while its effect is opposite at lower levels. Reanalysis data confirm these effects, which are consistent with thermal wind balance. The results suggest that the interannual variability found in the GTKE may be caused by intrinsic variability of the thermal Gulf Stream front.

Chekroun, Mickaël D., Michael Ghil, Honghu Liu, and Shouhong Wang. 2016. “Low-dimensional Galerkin approximations of nonlinear delay differential equations.” Discrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems - Series S 36 (8): 4133-4177. Abstract

This article revisits the approximation problem of systems of nonlinear delay differential equations (DDEs) by a set of ordinary differential equations (ODEs). We work in Hilbert spaces endowed with a natural inner product including a point mass, and introduce polynomials orthogonal with respect to such an inner product that live in the domain of the linear operator associated with the underlying DDE. These polynomials are then used to design a general Galerkin scheme for which we derive rigorous convergence results and show that it can be numerically implemented via simple analytic formulas. The scheme so obtained is applied to three nonlinear DDEs, two autonomous and one forced: (i) a simple DDE with distributed delays whose solutions recall Brownian motion; (ii) a DDE with a discrete delay that exhibits bimodal and chaotic dynamics; and (iii) a periodically forced DDE with two discrete delays arising in climate dynamics. In all three cases, the Galerkin scheme introduced in this article provides a good approximation by low-dimensional ODE systems of the DDE's strange attractor, as well as of the statistical features that characterize its nonlinear dynamics.

2015
Chang, C. P., Michael Ghil, M. Latif, and J. M. Wallace, ed. 2015. Climate Change: Multidecadal and Beyond. World Scientific Publ. Co./Imperial College Press.
Ghil, Michael, Mickaël D. Chekroun, and Gabor Stepan. 2015. “A collection on `Climate Dynamics: Multiple Scales and Memory Effects'.” Proceedings of the Royal Society A 471 (20150097). Royal Society London. Publisher's Version
Groth, Andreas, and Michael Ghil. 2015. “Monte Carlo Singular Spectrum Analysis (SSA) revisited: Detecting oscillator clusters in multivariate datasets.” Journal of Climate 28 (19): 7873–7893. Abstract

Singular spectrum analysis (SSA) along with its multivariate extension (M-SSA) provides an efficient way to identify weak oscillatory behavior in high-dimensional data. To prevent the misinterpretation of stochastic fluctuations in short time series as oscillations, Monte Carlo (MC)–type hypothesis tests provide objective criteria for the statistical significance of the oscillatory behavior. Procrustes target rotation is introduced here as a key method for refining previously available MC tests. The proposed modification helps reduce the risk of type-I errors, and it is shown to improve the test’s discriminating power. The reliability of the proposed methodology is examined in an idealized setting for a cluster of harmonic oscillators immersed in red noise. Furthermore, the common method of data compression into a few leading principal components, prior to M-SSA, is reexamined, and its possibly negative effects are discussed. Finally, the generalized Procrustes test is applied to the analysis of interannual variability in the North Atlantic’s sea surface temperature and sea level pressure fields. The results of this analysis provide further evidence for shared mechanisms of variability between the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Oscillation in the interannual frequency band.

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2014
Groth, Andreas. 2014. “Interannual variability in the North Atlantic SST and wind forcing.” Seminar at International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Columbia. Abstract

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Groth, Andreas. 2014. “Oscillatory behavior and oscillatory modes.” SSA workshop Bournemouth, September 2014. Abstract

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