Fixed points, stable manifolds, weather regimes, and their predictability

Chaos. 2009 Dec;19(4):043109. doi: 10.1063/1.3230497.


In a simple, one-layer atmospheric model, we study the links between low-frequency variability and the model's fixed points in phase space. The model dynamics is characterized by the coexistence of multiple "weather regimes." To investigate the transitions from one regime to another, we focus on the identification of stable manifolds associated with fixed points. We show that these manifolds act as separatrices between regimes. We track each manifold by making use of two local predictability measures arising from the meteorological applications of nonlinear dynamics, namely, "bred vectors" and singular vectors. These results are then verified in the framework of ensemble forecasts issued from "clouds" (ensembles) of initial states. The divergence of the trajectories allows us to establish the connections between zones of low predictability, the geometry of the stable manifolds, and transitions between regimes.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Atmosphere*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Nonlinear Dynamics*
  • Weather*