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Title: Application of empirical and dynamical closure methods to simple climate models
Authors: Padilla, Lauren
Advisors: Vallis, Geoffrey
Rowley, Clarence
Contributors: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department
Keywords: adaptive covariance rank
climate modeling
multiscale modeling
nonlinear Kalman filter
parameter estimation
transient climate sensitivity
Subjects: Applied mathematics
Atmospheric sciences
Mechanical engineering
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation applies empirically- and physically-based methods for closure of uncertain parameters and processes to three model systems that lie on the simple end of climate model complexity. Each model isolates one of three sources of closure uncertainty: uncertain observational data, large dimension, and wide ranging length scales. They serve as efficient test systems toward extension of the methods to more realistic climate models. The empirical approach uses the Unscented Kalman Filter (UKF) to estimate the transient climate sensitivity (TCS) parameter in a globally-averaged energy balance model. Uncertainty in climate forcing and historical temperature make TCS difficult to determine. A range of probabilistic estimates of TCS computed for various assumptions about past forcing and natural variability corroborate ranges reported in the IPCC AR4 found by different means. Also computed are estimates of how quickly uncertainty in TCS may be expected to diminish in the future as additional observations become available. For higher system dimensions the UKF approach may become prohibitively expensive. A modified UKF algorithm is developed in which the error covariance is represented by a reduced-rank approximation, substantially reducing the number of model evaluations required to provide probability densities for unknown parameters. The method estimates the state and parameters of an abstract atmospheric model, known as Lorenz 96, with accuracy close to that of a full-order UKF for 30-60% rank reduction. The physical approach to closure uses the Multiscale Modeling Framework (MMF) to demonstrate closure of small-scale, nonlinear processes that would not be resolved directly in climate models. A one-dimensional, abstract test model with a broad spatial spectrum is developed. The test model couples the Kuramoto-Sivashinsky equation to a transport equation that includes cloud formation and precipitation-like processes. In the test model, three main sources of MMF error are evaluated independently. Loss of nonlinear multi-scale interactions and periodic boundary conditions in closure models were dominant sources of error. Using a reduced order modeling approach to maximize energy content allowed reduction of the closure model dimension up to 75% without loss in accuracy. MMF and a comparable alternative model peformed equally well compared to direct numerical simulation.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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