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Transitions across Melancholia States in a climate model: reconciling the deterministic and stochastic points of view

Lucarini, V. and Bódai, T. (2019) Transitions across Melancholia States in a climate model: reconciling the deterministic and stochastic points of view. Physical Review Letters, 122 (15). 158701. ISSN 1079-7114

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.122.158701

Abstract/Summary

The Earth is well known to be, in the current astronomical configuration, in a regime where two asymptotic states can be realized. The warm state we live in is in competition with the ice-covered snowball state. The bistability exists as a result of the positive ice-albedo feedback. In a previous investigation performed on a intermediate complexity climate model we identified the unstable climate states (melancholia states) separating the coexisting climates, and studied their dynamical and geometrical properties. The melancholia states are ice covered up to the midlatitudes and attract trajectories initialized on the basin boundary. In this Letter, we study how stochastically perturbing the parameter controlling the intensity of the incoming solar radiation impacts the stability of the climate. We detect transitions between the warm and the snowball state and analyze in detail the properties of the noise-induced escapes from the corresponding basins of attraction. We determine the most probable paths for the transitions and find evidence that the melancholia states act as gateways, similarly to saddle points in an energy landscape.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Mathematics and Statistics
ID Code:83564
Publisher:APS Physics

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