A test model for fluctuationdissipation theorems with time-periodic statistics

Boris Gershgorin, Andrew J. Majda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The recently developed time-periodic fluctuationdissipation theorem (FDT) provides a very convenient way of addressing the climate change of atmospheric systems with seasonal cycle by utilizing statistics of the present climate. A triad nonlinear stochastic model with exactly solvable first and second order statistics is introduced here as an unambiguous test model for FDT in a time-periodic setting. This model mimics the nonlinear interaction of two Rossby waves forced by baroclinic processes with a zonal jet forced by a polar temperature gradient. Periodic forcing naturally introduces the seasonal cycle into the model. The exactly solvable first and second order statistics are utilized to compute both the ideal mean and variance response to the perturbations in forcing or dissipation and the quasi-Gaussian approximation of FDT (qG-FDT) that uses the mean and the covariance in the equilibrium state. The time-averaged mean and variance qG-FDT response to perturbations of forcing or dissipation is compared with the corresponding ideal response utilizing the triad test model in a number of regimes with various dynamical and statistical properties such as weak or strong non-Gaussianity and resonant or non-resonant forcing. It is shown that even in a strongly non-Gaussian regime, qG-FDT has surprisingly high skill for the mean response to the changes in forcing. On the other hand, the performance of qG-FDT for the variance response to the perturbations of dissipation is good in the near-Gaussian regime and deteriorates in the strongly non-Gaussian regime. The results here on the test model should provide useful guidelines for applying the time-periodic FDT to more complex realistic systems such as atmospheric general circulation models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1741-1757
Number of pages17
JournalPhysica D: Nonlinear Phenomena
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010


  • Exactly solvable model
  • Fluctuationdissipation theorem
  • Linear response
  • Time-periodic statistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Applied Mathematics


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