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Crisis of the chaotic attractor of a climate model: a transfer operator approach

Tantet, A., Lucarini, V., Lunkeit, F. and Dijkstra, H. A. (2018) Crisis of the chaotic attractor of a climate model: a transfer operator approach. Nonlinearity, 31 (5). 2221. ISSN 1361-6544

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1088/1361-6544/aaaf42


The destruction of a chaotic attractor leading to rough changes in the dynamics of a dynamical system is studied. Local bifurcations are characterised by a single or a pair of characteristic exponents crossing the imaginary axis. The approach of such bifurcations in the presence of noise can be inferred from the slowing down of the correlation decay. On the other hand, little is known about global bifurcations involving high-dimensional attractors with positive Lyapunov exponents. The global stability of chaotic attractors may be characterised by the spectral properties of the Koopman or the transfer operators governing the evolution of statistical ensembles. It has recently been shown that a boundary crisis in the Lorenz flow coincides with the approach to the unit circle of the eigenvalues of these operators associated with motions about the attractor, the stable resonances. A second type of resonances, the unstable resonances, is responsible for the decay of correlations and mixing on the attractor. In the deterministic case, those cannot be expected to be affected by general boundary crises. Here, however, we give an example of chaotic system in which slowing down of the decay of correlations of some observables does occur at the approach of a boundary crisis. The system considered is a high-dimensional, chaotic climate model of physical relevance. Moreover, coarse-grained approximations of the transfer operators on a reduced space, constructed from a long time series of the system, give evidence that this behaviour is due to the approach of unstable resonances to the unit circle. That the unstable resonances are affected by the crisis can be physically understood from the fact that the process responsible for the instability, the ice-albedo feedback, is also active on the attractor. Implications regarding response theory and the design of early-warning signals are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Walker Institute
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for the Mathematics of Planet Earth (CMPE)
ID Code:75982
Publisher:Institute of Physics


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