Atmosphere & climate

2002
Kao, C.-Y. J., D. I. Cooper, J. M. Reisner, W. E. Eichinger, and Michael Ghil. 2002. “Probing near-surface atmospheric turbulence with high-resolution lidar measurements and models.” Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 107 (D10). Wiley Online Library.
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Koo, Seongjoon, and Michael Ghil. 2002. “Successive bifurcations in a simple model of atmospheric zonal-flow vacillation.” Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science 12 (2). AIP Publishing: 300–309.
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Ghil, Michael, and Andrew W. Robertson. 2002. “``Waves'' vs. ``particles'' in the atmosphere's phase space: A pathway to long-range forecasting?” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99. National Acad Sciences: 2493–2500. Abstract

Thirty years ago, E. N. Lorenz provided some approximate limits to atmospheric predictability. The details—in space and time—of atmospheric flow fields are lost after about 10 days. Certain gross flow features recur, however, after times of the order of 10–50 days, giving hope for their prediction. Over the last two decades, numerous attempts have been made to predict these recurrent features. The attempts have involved, on the one hand, systematic improvements in numerical weather prediction by increasing the spatial resolution and physical faithfulness in the detailed models used for this prediction. On the other hand, theoretical attempts motivated by the same goal have involved the study of the large-scale atmospheric motions’ phase space and the inhomoge- neities therein. These ‘‘coarse-graining’’ studies have addressed observed as well as simulated atmospheric data sets. Two distinct approaches have been used in these studies: the episodic or intermittent and the oscillatory or periodic. The intermittency approach describes multiple-flow (or weather) regimes, their per- sistence and recurrence, and the Markov chain of transitions among them. The periodicity approach studies intraseasonal oscil- lations, with periods of 15–70 days, and their predictability. We review these two approaches, ‘‘particles’’ vs. ‘‘waves,’’ in the quantum physics analogy alluded to in the title of this article, discuss their complementarity, and outline unsolved problems.

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2001
Ide, Kayo, H. Le Treut, Z.-X. Li, and Michael Ghil. 2001. “Atmospheric radiative equilibria. Part II: bimodal solutions for atmospheric optical properties.” Climate Dynamics 18 (1-2). Springer: 29–49.
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Tian, Yudong, Eric R. Weeks, Kayo Ide, J. S. Urbach, Charles N. Baroud, Michael Ghil, and Harry L. Swinney. 2001. “Experimental and numerical studies of an eastward jet over topography.” Journal of Fluid Mechanics 438. Cambridge Univ Press: 129–157.
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Lott, François, Andrew W. Robertson, and Michael Ghil. 2001. “Mountain torques and atmospheric oscillations.” Geophys. Res. Lett 28: 1207–1210.
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1999
Smyth, Padhraic, Kayo Ide, and Michael Ghil. 1999. “Multiple Regimes in Northern Hemisphere Height Fields via Mixture Model Clustering.” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 56 (21): 3704–3723.
1998
Moron, Vincent, Robert Vautard, and Michael Ghil. 1998. “Trends, interdecadal and interannual oscillations in global sea-surface temperatures.” Climate Dynamics 14 (7): 545–569. Abstract

This study aims at a global description of climatic phenomena that exhibit some regularity during the twentieth century. Multi-channel singular spectrum analysis is used to extract long-term trends and quasi-regular oscillations of global sea-surface temperature (SST) fields since 1901. Regional analyses are also performed on the Pacific, (Northern and Southern) Atlantic, and Indian Ocean basins. The strongest climatic signal is the irregular long-term trend, characterized by overall warming during 1910–1940 and since 1975, with cooling (especially of the Northern Hemisphere) between these two warming intervals. Substantial cooling prevailed in the North Pacific between 1950 and 1980, and continues in the North Atlantic today. Both cooling and warming are preceded by SST anomalies of the same sign in the subpolar North Atlantic. Near-decadal oscillations are present primarily over the North Atlantic, but also over the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. A 13–15-y oscillation exhibits a seesaw pattern between the Gulf-Stream region and the North-Atlantic Drift and affects also the tropical Atlantic. Another 7–8-y oscillation involves the entire double-gyre circulation of the North Atlantic, being mostly of one sign across the basin, with a minor maximum of opposite sign in the subpolar gyre and the major maximum in the northwestern part of the subtropical gyre. Three distinct interannual signals are found, with periods of about 60–65, 45 and 24–30 months. All three are strongest in the tropical Eastern Pacific. The first two extend throughout the whole Pacific and still exhibit some consistent, albeit weak, patterns in other ocean basins. The latter is weaker overall and has no consistent signature outside the Pacific. The 60-month oscillation obtains primarily before the 1960s and the 45-month oscillation afterwards.

1996
Jin, F.-F., J. David Neelin, and Michael Ghil. 1996. “El Niño Southern Oscillation and the annual cycle: Subharmonic frequency-locking and aperiodicity.” Physica D 98: 442–465.
Ghil, Michael, and Pascal Yiou. 1996. “Spectral methods: What they can and cannot do for climatic time series.” Decadal Climate Variability: Dynamics and Predictability, edited by D. Anderson and J. Willebrand, 446–482. Springer-Verlag, Berlin/Heidelberg.
1995
Plaut, Guy, Michael Ghil, and Robert Vautard. 1995. “Interannual and Interdecadal Variability in 335 Years of Central England Temperatures.” Science 268 (5211): 710–713. Abstract

Understanding the natural variability of climate is important for predicting its near-term evolution. Models of the oceans' thermohaline and wind-driven circulation show low-frequency oscillations. Long instrumental records can help validate the oscillatory behavior of these models. Singular spectrum analysis applied to the 335-year-long central England temperature (CET) record has identified climate oscillations with interannual (7- to 8-year) and interdecadal (15- and 25-year) periods, probably related to the North Atlantic's wind-driven and thermohaline circulation, respectively. Statistical prediction of oscillatory variability shows CETs decreasing toward the end of this decade and rising again into the middle of the next.

1994
Plaut, Guy, and Robert Vautard. 1994. “Spells of Low-Frequency Oscillations and Weather Regimes in the Northern Hemisphere.” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 51 (2): 210–236. Abstract
The low-frequency variability in the midlatitudes is described through an analysis of the oscillatory phenomena. In order to isolate nearly periodic components of the atmospheric flow, the multichannel version of the singular spectrum analysis (M-SSA) is developed and applied to an NMC 32-year long set of 700-hPa geopotential heights. In the same way that principal component analysis identifies the spatial patterns dominating the variability, M-SSA identifies dynamically relevant space?time patterns and provides an adaptive filtering technique. Three major low-frequency oscillations (LFOs) are found, with periods of 70 days, 40?45 days, and 30?35 days. The 70-day oscillation consists of fluctuations in both position and amplitude of the Atlantic jet, with a poleward-propagating anomaly pattern. The 40?45-day oscillation is specific to the Pacific sector and has a pronounced Pacific/North American (PNA) structure in its high-amplitude phase. The 30?35-day mode is confined over the Atlantic region, and consists of the retrogression of a dipole pattern. All these oscillations are shown to be intermittently excited, and M-SSA allows the localization of their spells. The two Atlantic oscillations turn out to be frequently phase locked, so that the 30?35-day mode is likely to be a harmonic of the 70-day mode. The phase locking of the Pacific 40?45-day with the Atlantic 30?35-day oscillations is also studied. Next, the relationships between LFOs and weather regimes are studied. It is shown in particular that the occurrence of the Euro-Atlantic blocking regime is strongly favored, although not systematically caused, by particular phases of the 30?35-day mode. The LFOs themselves are able to produce high-amplitude persistent anomalies by interfering with each other. The transition from a zonal regime to a blocking regime is also shown to be highly connected to the life cycle of the 30?35-day mode, indicating that regime transitions do not result only from the random occurrence of particular transient eddy forcing. There are preferred paths between weather regimes. This result leaves us with the hope that at least the large-scale environment-favoring weather regimes may be forecast in the long range. Conditional probability of occurrence of blocking, 30 days ahead, is enhanced, relative to climatological probability, by a factor of 2 if the phase of the 30?35-day oscillation is known. This also emphasizes the necessity of operational models to represent correctly the extratropical LFOs in order to produce skillful long-range and even medium-range forecasts of weather regimes.
1993
Penland, Cécile, and Michael Ghil. 1993. “Forecasting Northern Hemisphere 700\mbox-mb geopotential height anomalies using empirical normal modes.” Monthly Weather Review 121 (8): 2355–2372. Abstract
Multivariate linear prediction based on single-lag inverse modeling is developed further and critically examined. The method is applied to the National Meteorological Center analyses of Northern Hemisphere 700-mb geopotential height anomalies, which have been filtered to eliminate periods shorter than 10 days. Empirically derived normal modes of the randomly forced linear system are usually correlated, even at zero lag, suggesting that combinations of modes should be used in predictions. Due to nonlinearities in the dynamics and the neglect of interactions with other pressure levels, the lag at which the analysis is performed is crucial; best predictions obtain when the autocovariances involved in the analysis are calculated at a lag comparable to the exponential decay times of the modes. Errors in prediction have a significant seasonal dependence, indicating that the annual cycle affects the higher-order statistics of the field. Optimized linear predictions using this method are useful for about half a day longer than predictions made by persistence. Conditional probabilities are much more efficiently calculated using normal-mode parameters than from histograms, and yield similar results. Maps of the model's Fourier spectra—integrated over specified frequency intervals and consistent with the assumptions made in a linear analysis—agree with maps obtained from fast Fourier transforms of the data.
Kimoto, Masahide, and Michael Ghil. 1993. “Multiple flow regimes in the Northern Hemisphere winter. Part I: Methodology and hemispheric regimes.” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 50 (16): 2625–2644. Abstract
Recurrent and persistent flow patterns are identified by examining multivariate probability density functions (PDFs) in the phase space of large-scale atmospheric motions. This idea is pursued systematically here in the hope of clarifying the extent to which intraseasonal variability can be described and understood in terms of multiple flow regimes. Bivariate PDFs of the Northern Hemisphere (NH) wintertime anomaly heights at 700 mb are examined in the present paper, using a 37-year dataset. The two-dimensional phase plane is defined by the two leading empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs) of the anomaly fields. PDFs on this plane exhibit synoptically intriguing and statistically significant inhomogeneities on the periphery of the distribution. It is shown that these inhomogeneities are due to the existence of persistent and recurrent anomaly patterns, well-known as dominant teleconnection patterns; that is, the Pacific/North American (PNA) pattern, its reverse, and zonal and blocked phases of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). It is argued that the inhomogeneities are obscured when PDFs are examined in a smaller-dimensional subspace than dynamically desired.
Keppenne, Christian L., and Michael Ghil. 1993. “Adaptive filtering and prediction of noisy multivariate signals: an application to subannual variability in atmospheric angular momentum.” International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos 3: 625–634. Abstract

Principal component analysis (PCA) in the space and time domains is applied to filter adaptively the dominant modes of subannual (SA) variability of a 12-year long multivariate time series of Northern Hemisphere atmospheric angular momentum (AAM); AAM is computed in 23 latitude bands of equal area from operational analyses of the U.S. National Meteorological Center. PCA isolates the leading empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs) of spatial dependence, while multivariate singular spectrum analysis (M-SSA) yields filtered time series that capture the dominant low-frequency modes of SA variability. The time series prefiltered by M-SSA lend themselves to prediction by the maximum entropy method (MEM). Whole-field predictions are made by combining the forecasts so obtained with the leading spatial EOFs obtained by PCA. The combination of M-SSA and MEM has predictive ability up to about a month. These methods are essentially linear but data-adaptive. They seem to perform well for short, noisy, multivariate time series, to which purely nonlinear, deterministically based methods are difficult to apply.

1992
Keppenne, Christian L., and Michael Ghil. 1992. “Adaptive filtering and prediction of the Southern Oscillation index.” Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 97 (D18). Wiley Online Library: 20449–20454.
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1991
Ghil, Michael, and Kingtse Mo. 1991. “Intraseasonal Oscillations in the Global Atmosphere. Part I: Northern Hemisphere and Tropics.” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 48 (5): 752–779. Abstract
We have examined systematically oscillatory modes in the Northern Hemisphere and in the tropics. The 700 mb heights were used to analyze extratropical oscillations, and the outgoing longwave radiation to study tropical oscillations in convection. All datasets were band-pass filtered to focus on the intraseasonal (IS) band of 10-120 days. Leading spatial patterns of variability were obtained by applying EOF analysis to these IS data. The leading principal components (PCs) were subjected to singular spectrum analysis (SSA). SSA is a statistical technique related to EOF analysis, but in the time domain, rather than the spatial domain. It helps identify nonlinear oscillations in short and noisy time series.In the Northern Hemisphere, there are two important modes of oscillation with periods near 48 and 23 days, respectively. The 48-day mode is the most important of the two. It has both traveling and standing components, and is dominated by a zonal wavenumber two. The 23-day mode has the spatial structure and propagation properties described by Branstator and by Kushnir.In the tropics, the 40-50 day oscillation documented by Madden and Julian, Weickmann, Lau, their colleagues, and many other authors dominates the Indian and Pacific oceans from 60°E to the date line. From 170°W to 90°W, however, a 24-28 day oscillation is equally strong. The extratropical modes are often independent of, and sometimes lead, the tropical modes.
Ghil, Michael, and Kingtse Mo. 1991. “Intraseasonal Oscillations in the Global Atmosphere. Part II: Southern Hemisphere.” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 48: 780–792. Abstract
In Part II of this two-part article, we complete the systematic examination of oscillatory modes in the global atmosphere by studying 12 years of 500 mb geopotential heights in the Southern Hemisphere. As in Part I, for the tropics and Northern Hemisphere extratropics, the data were band-pass filtered to focus on intraseasonal (IS) phenomena, and spatial EOFs were obtained. The leading principal components were subjected to singular spectrum analysis (SSA), in order to identify nonlinear IS oscillations with high statistical confidence.In the Southern Hemisphere, the dominant mode has a period of 23 days, with spatial patterns carried by the second and third winter EOF of the IS band. It has a zonal wavenumber-four structure. The 40-day mode is second, and dominated by wavenumbers three and four, while a 16-day mode is too weak to separate its spatial behavior from the previous two. The IS dynamics in the Southern Hemisphere is more complex and dominated by shorter wavenumbers than the Northern Hemisphere. No statistically significant correlations between the Southern Hemisphere and the tropics or the Northern Hemisphere are apparent in the IS band.
Ghil, Michael, and Robert Vautard. 1991. “Interdecadal oscillations and the warming trend in global temperature time series.” Nature 350 (6316): 324–327. Abstract

The ability to distinguish a warming trend from natural variability is critical for an understanding of the climatic response to increasing greenhouse-gas concentrations. Here we use singular spectrum analysis1 to analyse the time series of global surface air tem-peratures for the past 135 years2, allowing a secular warming trend and a small number of oscillatory modes to be separated from the noise. The trend is flat until 1910, with an increase of 0.4 °C since then. The oscillations exhibit interdecadal periods of 21 and 16 years, and interannual periods of 6 and 5 years. The interannual oscillations are probably related to global aspects of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon3. The interdecadal oscillations could be associated with changes in the extratropical ocean circulation4. The oscillatory components have combined (peak-to-peak) amplitudes of >0.2 °C, and therefore limit our ability to predict whether the inferred secular warming trend of 0.005 °Cyr-1 will continue. This could postpone incontrovertible detection of the greenhouse warming signal for one or two decades.

1987
Ghil, Michael, and S. Childress. 1987. Topics in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics: Atmospheric Dynamics, Dynamo Theory and Climate Dynamics. Springer-Verlag, New York/Berlin, 485.

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