Circulation Regimes due to Attractor Merging in Atmospheric Models

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From a dynamical systems theory perspective, the mechanisms of atmospheric regime behavior in abarotropic model, a pseudobarotropic model, and a baroclinic three-level model, where all of them showquite realistic regimes, are unveiled. Along with this, the role played by multiple equilibria for the emergenceof regimes in barotropic models is critically reexamined.In the barotropic model, a sequence of bifurcations is observed, which leads to the merging of coexistingattractors and results in two pronounced regimes corresponding to high- and low-index flow. Thepseudobarotropic model is constructed from the three-level model by introducing a strong internal frictionbetween the levels and switching off the interfacial diabatic forcing, and it has essentially the same bifurcationproperties and regimes as the truly barotropic model. A continuous metamorphosis between thepseudobarotropic and the original baroclinic three-level model is accomplished by a linear interpolation ofparameters and forcing fields between these two models. Both local and global bifurcations occurring duringthis transition to baroclinicity are analyzed in detail, yielding two main results. First, almost all of themultiple steady states of the pseudobarotropic model owe their existence merely to the fact that the surfacefriction has generally to be chosen unphysically weak in barotropic models in order to obtain chaoticbehavior. Second, the circulation regimes in both the pseudobarotropic model and the baroclinic three-levelmodel are proven to emerge from the unification of multiple attractors, which coexist at intermediatestrength of baroclinicity and correspond to low- or high-index flow configurations, respectively.

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Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Sempf, M. , Dethloff, K. , Handorf, D. and Kurgansky, M. (2007): Circulation Regimes due to Attractor Merging in Atmospheric Models , Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 64, pp. 2029-2044 .


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