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Title: Initial value predictability of intrinsic oceanic modes and implications for decadal prediction over North America

The overall aim of our project was to quantify and characterize predictability of the climate as it pertains to decadal time scale predictions. By predictability we mean the degree to which a climate forecast can be distinguished from the climate that exists at initial forecast time, taking into consideration the growth of uncertainty that occurs as a result of the climate system being chaotic. In our project we were especially interested in predictability that arises from initializing forecasts from some specific state though we also contrast this predictability with predictability arising from forecasting the reaction of the system to external forcing – for example changes in greenhouse gas concentration. Also, we put special emphasis on the predictability of prominent intrinsic patterns of the system because they often dominate system behavior. Highlights from this work include: • Development of novel methods for estimating the predictability of climate forecast models. • Quantification of the initial value predictability limits of ocean heat content and the overturning circulation in the Atlantic as they are represented in various state of the art climate models. These limits varied substantially from model to model but on average were about a decade with North Atlantic heat content tendingmore » to be more predictable than North Pacific heat content. • Comparison of predictability resulting from knowledge of the current state of the climate system with predictability resulting from estimates of how the climate system will react to changes in greenhouse gas concentrations. It turned out that knowledge of the initial state produces a larger impact on forecasts for the first 5 to 10 years of projections. • Estimation of the predictability of dominant patterns of ocean variability including well-known patterns of variability in the North Pacific and North Atlantic. For the most part these patterns were predictable for 5 to 10 years. • Determination of especially predictable patterns in the North Atlantic. The most predictable of these retain predictability substantially longer than generic patterns, with some being predictable for two decades.« less
  1. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
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Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States