The Role Played by Oceans in Climate

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1 The Role Played by Oceans in Climate Ocean State Predictions under Conditions of Large Variability JUAN M. RESTREPO Group Leader Uncertainty Quantification Group (UQG) Mathematics Department and Physics Department University of Arizona October 11, 2008

2 Uncertainty Quantification Group (NSF and DOE Support) Faculty JMR (Math, Physics, Atmospheric Science) Shankar Venkataramani (Math) Kevin Lin (Math) Rabi Bhattacharya (Math, Statistics) Kobus Barnard (Computer Science) Hermann Flaschka (Math) Walt Piegorsch (Statistics) Post-Docs P. Krause J. Ramírez P. Dostert T.-T. Shieh Graduate Students: 15, Undergraduate Students: 2. UQGQG

3 Global Warming What is Climate? Ocean s Role in Climate Change Uncertainty Quantification, the Next Frontier Focus Problems: COMPLEX PROBLEMS Weather/Climate Hydrogeology Computer Vision Estimation, Sampling, Dynamical Systems, Machine-Learning, Computer Grammars, Large-scale Computing, Statistical Analysis, Data Management. UQGQG

4 Ice Age: as a Consequence of Global Warming? Global warming is a contemporary fact. The Earth has undergone many sudden and abrupt changes in its climate. Estimated $9T in losses for a 3 degree change (Stern Report, UK)

5 Ice Age: as a Consequence of Global Warming? Global warming is a contemporary fact. The Earth has undergone many sudden and abrupt changes in its climate. Estimated $9T in losses for a 3 degree change (Stern Report, UK)

6 Ice Age: as a Consequence of Global Warming? Global warming is a contemporary fact. The Earth has undergone many sudden and abrupt changes in its climate. Estimated $9T in losses for a 3 degree change (Stern Report, UK)

7 Ice Age: as a Consequence of Global Warming? The Earth has undergone many sudden and abrupt changes in its climate Can present global warming trigger an abrupt climate change? Are human activities contributing to global warming?

8 Ice Age: as a Consequence of Global Warming? The Earth has undergone many sudden and abrupt changes in its climate Can present global warming trigger an abrupt climate change? Are human activities contributing to global warming?

9 Global Warming is Real: The Data

10 Global Warming is Real and Human Activities are Important: The Data From Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report 2007

11 Global Warming is Real and Human Activities are Implicated: The Data Compounding and Compelling Evidence: There is no known way to attribute the data trend solely to natural phenomena, and further, correlations in the data cannot be ascribed to chance or known natural causes.

12 What Distinguishes Weather from Climate? A Matter of Scales... Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Planetary fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, chemistry Examples of Weather TV forecasts Hurricanes Flooding

13 What Distinguishes Weather from Climate? A Matter of Scales... Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Planetary fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, chemistry Examples of Weather TV forecasts Hurricanes Flooding

14 What Distinguishes Weather from Climate? A Matter of Scales... Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Planetary fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, chemistry Climate Examples El Niño/La Niña Ice Ages The Seasons The Thermohaline Circulation

15 Climate: Some Basic Facts Sun radiation is primary driver

16 Climate: Some Basic Facts Equator receives more concentrated solar energy:

17 Climate: Some Basic Facts Equator receives more concentrated solar energy:

18 Climate: Some Basic Facts Equator receives more concentrated solar energy: Images due to Randy Russell, UCAR 2005

19 Global Warming What is Climate? Ocean s Role in Climate Change Uncertainty Quantification, the Next Frontier Climate: Some Basic Facts Poles would be colder where it not for heat convection and the effects of Earth s rotation:

20 Climate: Some Basic Facts Humidity affects the Atmosphere s heat capacity and the amount of sun energy reaching the Earth surface:

21 Global Warming What is Climate? Ocean s Role in Climate Change Climate: Some Basic Facts The Greenhouse Effect Uncertainty Quantification, the Next Frontier

22 Global Warming What is Climate? Ocean s Role in Climate Change Climate: Some Basic Facts The Greenhouse Effect Uncertainty Quantification, the Next Frontier

23 Global Warming What is Climate? Ocean s Role in Climate Change Climate: Some Basic Facts The Greenhouse Effect Uncertainty Quantification, the Next Frontier

24 Global Warming What is Climate? Ocean s Role in Climate Change Uncertainty Quantification, the Next Frontier Climate: Some Basic Facts The Greenhouse Effect: water vapor and other gases trap heat.

25 Oceans and Climate What s the role of Oceans in Climate? Account for 70% of Earth s surface (all continents can fit in Pacific Ocean). Water has 1000 times higher heat capacity than air. Largest repository of carbon (93%), when compared to atmosphere and biosphere. Some papers on the role of the oceans in the carbon cycle: S. Peacock, E. Lane, J. M. Restrepo, J. Global Biogeochem Cycles, (2006), E. Lane, S. Peacock, J. M. Restrepo, Tellus B (2006). D. Kurtze, J. M. Restrepo, J. Phys. Oceanogr. (2001).

26 Oceans and Climate What s the role of Oceans in Climate? Account for 70% of Earth s surface (all continents can fit in Pacific Ocean). Water has 1000 times higher heat capacity than air. Largest repository of carbon (93%), when compared to atmosphere and biosphere. Some papers on the role of the oceans in the carbon cycle: S. Peacock, E. Lane, J. M. Restrepo, J. Global Biogeochem Cycles, (2006), E. Lane, S. Peacock, J. M. Restrepo, Tellus B (2006). D. Kurtze, J. M. Restrepo, J. Phys. Oceanogr. (2001).

27 The Thermo (Temperature) Haline (Salt) Circulation (THC)

28 The Thermohaline Circulation (THC) The sea water density: ρ = ρ 0 + αs βt. EQUATOR heating cooling POLE thermocline deep water sinking water Present heat transport, about 1 PW (10 15 W) northwards

29 The Conditions at the Sea Surface TEMPERATURES SALINITY

30 Mathematical Analysis of the THC Equations Climate Equations Have More Than One Climate Solution Stommel (1961) pioneered this type of analysis on simplified models HALINE DOMINATED 0.6 λ large λ small TEMP DOMINATED 0.8 Climate System Questions: Are these climates stable? f What could perturb the state and cause a switch? Can human activities be such a perturbation?

31 THC Predictions, Glacial Times GLACIAL TIMES Lower temps and CO 2 levels. Transitions triggered by freshwater changes. Basic State: Stable (H) Heinrich Event: Unstable (D/O) Daansgard-Oeschger: Unstable Image from Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

32 THC Predictions, Present PRESENT TIMES Higher temps and CO 2 levels. (H) NADW shut-down: Stable Cold State: Not Found (D/O) present state: Stable

33 Daansgard-Oeschger Sequence of Events

34 How does the THC Shut Down? One of many shut down sequences: GREENHOUSE EFFECT increased temperatures increased precipitation/melting THC SHIFT FROM THERMAL TO HALINE there s observational evidence of a drop in salinity, compared to 1965, say Scientists at Woods Hole Institute of Oceanography.

35 Is a THC change happening now? Greenland ice cover in summer:

36 What will happen if the THC shut down?

37 What will happen if the THC shut down?

38 What will happen if the THC shut down?

39 What will happen if the THC shut down?

40 What will happen if the THC shut down?

41 What will happen if the THC shut down?

42 What will happen if the THC shut down?

43 What will happen if the THC shut down? Severe decades/centuries-long winters in N. Atlantic, e.g. Lower temperatures in Europe and North America. Abrupt regional cooling may occur even as the earth, on average, continues to warm. Extreme weather, more intense hurricanes.

44 What will happen if the THC shut down? Severe decades/centuries-long winters in N. Atlantic, e.g. Lower temperatures in Europe and North America. Abrupt regional cooling may occur even as the earth, on average, continues to warm. Extreme weather, more intense hurricanes.

45 Some Open Research Avenues The coupled ocean/atmosphere models are not consistent. Ocean ice and humidity models need to be improved. The convection (thermally-driven transport) in atmospheric models need to be improved. The complex codes need to be sped up. DATA, DATA, DATA: reduce the uncertainty and provide benchmarks.

46 A Major Challenge in Climate Change and Beyond: Variability What will happen? Are human activities responsible for warming? How good are our models and data? What are the possible scenarios? How large must a perturbation be to cause a significant change? Some papers on uncertainty quantification: G. Eyink, J. M. Restrepo, J. Stat. Phys. (2000) J. M. Restrepo, G. K. Leaf, A. Griewank, SIAM J. Sci. Comp. (1998) J. M. Restrepo, Physica D (2007) P. Krause, J. M. Restrepo, Mon. Wea. Rev. (2008)

47 Open Research Questions What makes climate science controversial? Climate Variability and Uncertainty are major technical problems (p.27, 2007 IPCC report) Sensitivity, Variability, and Uncertainty Now-Predict. Complex phenomena. Data with low information content. Poor data coverage. Poorly constrained dynamics or data variability.

48 Open Research Questions What makes climate science controversial? Climate Variability and Uncertainty are major technical problems (p.27, 2007 IPCC report) Sensitivity, Variability, and Uncertainty Now-Predict. Complex phenomena. Data with low information content. Poor data coverage. Poorly constrained dynamics or data variability.

49 Open Research Questions What makes climate science controversial? Climate Variability and Uncertainty are major technical problems (p.27, 2007 IPCC report) Sensitivity, Variability, and Uncertainty Now-Predict. Complex phenomena. Data with low information content. Poor data coverage. Poorly constrained dynamics or data variability.

50 Open Research Questions What makes climate science controversial? Climate Variability and Uncertainty are major technical problems (p.27, 2007 IPCC report) Sensitivity, Variability, and Uncertainty Now-Predict. Complex phenomena. Data with low information content. Poor data coverage. Poorly constrained dynamics or data variability.

51 Open Research Questions What makes climate science controversial? Climate Variability and Uncertainty are major technical problems (p.27, 2007 IPCC report) Sensitivity, Variability, and Uncertainty Now-Predict. Complex phenomena. Data with low information content. Poor data coverage. Poorly constrained dynamics or data variability.

52 Open Research Questions What makes climate science controversial? Climate Variability and Uncertainty are major technical problems (p.27, 2007 IPCC report) Sensitivity, Variability, and Uncertainty Now-Predict. Complex phenomena. Data with low information content. Poor data coverage. Poorly constrained dynamics or data variability.

53 Filtering/Smoothing Improve predictions by using models and data: Y X (dots) True Prediction Predictions enkf mean history (line) Predictions DKF mean history

54 Constrain Uncertainty For Branches of Prediction Φ = φ + Φ : Cov(Φ ) G( φgw) 2 := U The spread in the branch of prediction is bounded by the Uncertainty Norm

55 Predictability Can use Uncertainty Norm to define a notion of prediction: Simple Uncertainty Norm and Predictions

56 Predictability Can use Uncertainty Norm to define a notion of prediction: Complex Uncertainty Norm and Predictions

57 Concluding Remarks The Earth is warming. The anthropogenic component is important. There are several climate states. An abrupt climate can occur when a perturbation shifts an equilibrium climate state to another state. Abrupt and severe cooling is one such state. We need to develop a different approach to understanding complex systems. Models and data need to be used, even if errors are present. Uncertainty quantification and sensitivity analysis techniques need to be developed.

58 Further Information Popular and Technical Science Sources: On the Thermohaline Circulation and Abrupt Climate Change: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research On Global Warming: Am. J. Phys. 76, 2008, Resource Letter GW-2: Global Warming Juan M. Restrepo Uncertainty Quantification Group Mathematics and Physics Departments, University of Arizona restrepo UQGQG

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