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On quantifying the climate of the nonautonomous lorenz-63 model

Daron, J.D. and Stainforth, David A. (2015) On quantifying the climate of the nonautonomous lorenz-63 model. Chaos, 25 (4). ISSN 1054-1500

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Identification Number: 10.1063/1.4916789

Abstract

The Lorenz-63 model has been frequently used to inform our understanding of the Earth's climate and provide insight for numerical weather and climate prediction. Most studies have focused on the autonomous (time invariant) model behaviour in which the model's parameters are constants. Here we investigate the properties of the model under time-varying parameters, providing a closer parallel to the challenges of climate prediction, in which climate forcing varies with time. Initial condition (IC) ensembles are used to construct frequency distributions of model variables and we interpret these distributions as the time-dependent climate of the model. Results are presented that demonstrate the impact of ICs on the transient behaviour of the model climate. The location in state space from which an IC ensemble is initiated is shown to significantly impact the time it takes for ensembles to converge. The implication for climate prediction is that the climate may, in parallel with weather forecasting, have states from which its future behaviour is more, or less, predictable in distribution. Evidence of resonant behaviour and path dependence is found in model distributions under time varying parameters, demonstrating that prediction in nonautonomous nonlinear systems can be sensitive to the details of time-dependent forcing/parameter variations. Single model realisations are shown to be unable to reliably represent the model's climate; a result which has implications for how real-world climatic timeseries from observation are interpreted. The results have significant implications for the design and interpretation of Global Climate Model experiments. Over the past 50 years, insight from research exploring the behaviour of simple nonlinear systems has been fundamental in developing approaches to weather and climate prediction. The analysis herein utilises the much studied Lorenz-63 model to understand the potential behaviour of nonlinear systems, such as the 5 climate, when subject to time-varying external forcing, such as variations in atmospheric greenhouse gases or solar output. Our primary aim is to provide insight which can guide new approaches to climate model experimental design and thereby better address the uncertainties associated with climate change prediction. We use ensembles of simulations to generate distributions which 10 we refer to as the \climate" of the time-variant Lorenz-63 model. In these ensemble experiments a model parameter is varied in a number of ways which can be seen as paralleling both idealised and realistic variations in external forcing of the real climate system. Our results demonstrate that predictability of climate distributions under time varying forcing can be highly sensitive to 15 the specification of initial states in ensemble simulations. This is a result which at a superficial level is similar to the well-known initial condition sensitivity in weather forecasting, but with different origins and different implications for ensemble design. We also demonstrate the existence of resonant behaviour and a dependence on the details of the \forcing" trajectory, thereby highlighting 20 further aspects of nonlinear system behaviour with important implications for climate prediction. Taken together, our results imply that current approaches to climate modeling may be at risk of under-sampling key uncertainties likely to be significant in predicting future climate.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/chaos
Additional Information: © 2015 AIP Publishing LLC
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Centre for Analysis of Time Series
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Sets: Research centres and groups > Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
Research centres and groups > Centre for the Analysis of Time Series (CATS)
Date Deposited: 11 May 2015 13:19
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2017 18:34
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Lloyd's of London, London School of Economics and Political Science Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, Economic and Social Research Council, Munich Re.
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/61890

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