Low-dimensional reduced-order models for statistical response and uncertainty quantification: Two-layer baroclinic turbulence

Di Qi, Andrew J. Majda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accurate uncertainty quantification for the mean and variance about forced responses to general external perturbations in the climate system is an important subject in understanding Earth's atmosphere and ocean in climate change science. A low-dimensional reduced-order method is developed for uncertainty quantification and capturing the statistical sensitivity in the principal model directions with largest variability and in various regimes in two-layer quasigeostrophic turbulence. Typical dynamical regimes tested here include the homogeneous flow in the high latitudes and the anisotropic meandering jets in the low latitudes and/or midlatitudes. The idea in the reduced-order method is from a self-consistent mathematical framework for general systems with quadratic nonlinearity, where crucial high-order statistics are approximated by a systematic model calibration procedure. Model efficiency is improved through additional damping and noise corrections to replace the expensive energy-conserving nonlinear interactions. Model errors due to the imperfect nonlinear approximation are corrected by tuning the model parameters using linear response theory with an information metric in a training phase before prediction. Here a statistical energy principle is adopted to introduce a global scaling factor in characterizing the higher-order moments in a consistent way to improve model sensitivity. The reduced-order model displays uniformly high prediction skill for the mean and variance response to general forcing for both homogeneous flow and anisotropic zonal jets in the first 102 dominant low-wavenumber modes, where only about 0.15% of the total spectral modes are resolved, compared with the full model resolution of 2562 horizontal modes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4609-4639
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2016


  • Baroclinic models
  • Climate variability
  • Differential equations
  • Numerical analysis/modeling
  • Statistical techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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