Research ArticleCLIMATOLOGY

A new dynamical systems perspective on atmospheric predictability: Eastern Mediterranean weather regimes as a case study

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Science Advances  05 Jun 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 6, eaau0936
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau0936

Abstract

The atmosphere is a chaotic system displaying recurrent large-scale configurations. Recent developments in dynamical systems theory allow us to describe these configurations in terms of the local dimension—a proxy for the active number of degrees of freedom—and persistence in phase space, which can be interpreted as persistence in time. These properties provide information on the intrinsic predictability of an atmospheric state. Here, this technique is applied to atmospheric configurations in the eastern Mediterranean, grouped into synoptic classifications (SCs). It is shown that local dimension and persistence, derived from reanalysis and CMIP5 models’ daily sea-level pressure fields, can serve as an extremely informative qualitative method for evaluating the predictability of the different SCs. These metrics, combined with the SC transitional probability approach, may be a valuable complement to operational weather forecasts and effective tools for climate model evaluation. This new perspective can be extended to other geographical regions.

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