Publications by Type: Journal Article

Vautard, Robert, and Michael Ghil. “Singular spectrum analysis in nonlinear dynamics, with applications to paleoclimatic time series.” Physica D 35, no. 3 (1989): 395–424. Abstract

We distinguish between two dimensions of a dynamical system given by experimental time series. Statistical dimension gives a theoretical upper bound for the minimal number of degrees of freedom required to describe tje attractor up to the accuracy of the data, taking into account sampling and noise problems. The dynamical dimension is the intrinsic dimension of the attractor and does not depend on the quality of the data. Singular Spectrum Analysis (SSA) provides estimates of the statistical dimension. SSA also describes the main physical phenomena reflected by the data. It gives adaptive spectral filters associated with the dominant oscillations of the system and clarifies the noise characteristics of the data. We apply SSA to four paleoclimatic records. The principal climatic oscillations, and the regime changes in their amplitude are detected. About 10 degrees of freedom are statistically significant in the data. Large noise and insufficient sample length do not allow reliable estimates of the dynamical dimension.

Legras, B., and Michael Ghil. “Persistent anomalies, blocking and variations in atmospheric predictability.” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 42, no. 5 (1985): 433–471. Abstract

We consider regimes of low-frequency variability in large-scale atmospheric dynamics. The model used for the study of these regimes is the fully-nonlinear, equivalent-barotropic vorticity equation on the sphere, with simplified forcing, dissipation and topography. Twenty-five modes are retained in a spherical harmonics expansion of the streamfunction. Solutions are studied as a function of the nondimensional intensity of the forcing and dissipation.Multiple stationary solutions are obtained as a result of nonlinear interaction between waves, mean flow and orography. The number of modes retained in the analysis permits these multiple equilibria to appear for realistic values of the forcing. The equilibria exhibit blocked and zonal flow patterns bearing a marked resemblance to synoptically defined zonal and blocked Northern Hemisphere midlatitude flows.Wave-wave interactions influence strongly the stability properties of the equilibria and the time evolution of nonequilibrium solutions. Time-dependent solutions show persistent sequences which occur in the phase-space vicinity of the zonal and blocked equilibria. Composite flow patterns of the persistent sequences are similar to the equilibria nearby, which permits the unambiguous definition of quasi-stationary flow regimes, zonal and blocked, respectively. The number of episodes of blocked or zonal flow decreases monotonically as their duration increases, in agreement with observations.The statistics of transitions between the two types of planetary flow regimes are computed from the model's deterministic dynamics. These transitional called breaks in statistical-synoptic long-range forecasting, are shown to be influenced by changes in model parameters. This influence is discussed in terms of the effect of anomalous boundary conditions on large-scale midlatitude atmospheric flow and on its predictability.

Ghil, Michael, and John Tavantzis. “Global Hopf Bifurcation in a Simple Climate Model.” Siam Journal on Applied Mathematics 43, no. 5 (1983): 1019–1041. Publisher's Version Abstract
The mathematical structure of a simple climate model is investigated. The model is governed by a system of two nonlinear, autonomous differential equations for the evolution in time of global temperature $T$ and meridional ice-sheet extent $L$. The system's solutions are studied by a combination of qualitative reasoning with explicit calculations, both analytical and numerical. For plausible values of the physical parameters, a branch of periodic solutions obtains, which is both orbitally and structurally stable. The amplitude of the stable periodic solutions in $T$ and $L$ correspond roughly to that obtained from proxy records of Quaternary glaciation cycles. The period of these solutions increases along the branch, until it becomes infinite, while the amplitude of the limiting solution is finite. The limiting solution is a homoclinic orbit formed by the reconnecting separatrix of a saddle. The exchange of stability between the branch of periodic solutions and the steady solution from which it arises is studied by a slight simplification of known methods [20], [21].
Ghil, Michael, and H. Le Treut. “A climate model with cryodynamics and geodynamics.” Journal of Geophysical Research 86 (1981): 5262–5270. Publisher's Version