Dynamical analysis of a reduced model for the North Atlantic Oscillation

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Courtney Quinn, Dylan Harries, Terence J. O'Kane


The dynamics of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) are analyzed through a data-driven model obtained from atmospheric reanalysis data. We apply a regularized vector autoregressive clustering technique to identify recurrent and persistent states of atmospheric circulation patterns in the North Atlantic sector (110W-0E, 20N-90N). In order to analyze the dynamics associated with the resulting cluster-based models, we define a time-dependent linear delayed map with a switching sequence set a priori by the cluster affiliations at each time step. Using a method for computing the covariant Lyapunov vectors (CLVs) over various time windows, we produce sets of mixed singular vectors (for short windows) and approximate the asymptotic CLVs (for longer windows). The growth rates and alignment of the resulting time-dependent vectors are then analyzed. We find that the window chosen to compute the vectors acts as a filter on the dynamics. For short windows, the alignment and changes in growth rates are indicative of individual transitions between persistent states. For long windows, we observe an emergent annual signal manifest in the alignment of the CLVs characteristic of the observed seasonality in the NAO index. Analysis of the average finite-time dimension reveals the NAO- as the most unstable state relative to the NAO+, with persistent AR states largely stable. Our results agree with other recent theoretical and empirical studies that have shown blocking events to have less predictability than periods of enhanced zonal flow.




Applied Mathematics, Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


North Atlantic Oscillation, covariant Lyapunov vectors, finite-time dynamics, regime identification


Published: 2020-10-21 12:41

Last Updated: 2021-03-04 16:48

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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