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Predictability of Linear Coupled Systems. Part II: An Application to a Simple Model of Tropical Atlantic Variability

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  • 1 Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
  • | 2 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 3 Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
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Abstract

A predictability analysis developed within a general framework of linear stochastic dynamics in a companion paper is applied to a simple coupled climate model of tropical Atlantic variability (TAV). The simple model extends the univariate stochastic climate model of Hasselmann by including positive air–sea feedback and heat advection by mean ocean currents. The interplay between the positive air–sea feedback and the negative oceanic feedbacks gives rise to oscillatory coupled modes. The relationship between these coupled modes and the system's predictability is explored for a wide range of coupled regimes. It is shown that the system's predictability cannot be simply determined from oscillatory behavior of the dominant coupled mode when coupling is weak. The predictable dynamics of the weakly coupled system depend upon the interference among many coupled modes and the spatial structures of the stochastic forcing. Using the simple model as an example, the concept of optimizing the predictability of a linear stochastic system is illustrated. The implication of these results for the predictability of weakly coupled climate systems in the real world is also discussed.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Ping Chang, Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3146. Email: ping@ocean.tamu.edu

Abstract

A predictability analysis developed within a general framework of linear stochastic dynamics in a companion paper is applied to a simple coupled climate model of tropical Atlantic variability (TAV). The simple model extends the univariate stochastic climate model of Hasselmann by including positive air–sea feedback and heat advection by mean ocean currents. The interplay between the positive air–sea feedback and the negative oceanic feedbacks gives rise to oscillatory coupled modes. The relationship between these coupled modes and the system's predictability is explored for a wide range of coupled regimes. It is shown that the system's predictability cannot be simply determined from oscillatory behavior of the dominant coupled mode when coupling is weak. The predictable dynamics of the weakly coupled system depend upon the interference among many coupled modes and the spatial structures of the stochastic forcing. Using the simple model as an example, the concept of optimizing the predictability of a linear stochastic system is illustrated. The implication of these results for the predictability of weakly coupled climate systems in the real world is also discussed.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Ping Chang, Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3146. Email: ping@ocean.tamu.edu

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