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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-103
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-103
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  27 Aug 2020

27 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Technical Note: Characterising and comparing different palaeoclimates with dynamical systems theory

Gabriele Messori1,2 and Davide Faranda3,4,5 Gabriele Messori and Davide Faranda
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, and Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS), Uppsala, Sweden
  • 2Department of Meteorology and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 4London Mathematical Laboratory, London, UK
  • 5LMD/IPSL, Ecole Normale Superieure, PSL research University, Paris, France

Abstract. Numerical climate simulations produce vast amounts of high-resolution data. This poses new challenges to the palaeoclimate community – and indeed to the broader climate community – in how to efficiently process and interpret model output. The palaeoclimate community also faces the additional challenge of having to characterise and compare a much broader range of climates than encountered in other subfields of climate science. Here we propose an analysis framework, grounded in dynamical systems theory, which may contribute to overcome these challenges. The framework enables to characterise the dynamics of a given climate through a small number of metrics. These may be applied to individual climate variables or to diagnose the coupling between different variables. To illustrate its applicability, we analyse three numerical simulations of mid-Holocene climates over North Africa, under different boundary conditions. We find that the three simulations produce climate systems with different dynamical properties, which are reflected in the dynamical systems metrics. We conclude that the dynamical systems framework holds significant potential for analysing palaeoclimate simulations. At the same time, an appraisal of the framework's limitations suggests that it should be viewed as a complement to more conventional analyses, rather than as a wholesale substitute.

Gabriele Messori and Davide Faranda

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Gabriele Messori and Davide Faranda

Gabriele Messori and Davide Faranda

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Latest update: 24 Sep 2020
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Short summary
The palaeoclimate community must both analyse large amounts of model data and compare very different climates. Here we present a seemingly very abstract analysis approach that may be easily applied to palaeoclimate numerical simulations. This approach characterises the dynamics of a given climate through a small number of metrics, and is thus suited to face the above challenges.
The palaeoclimate community must both analyse large amounts of model data and compare very...
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