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Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 17, issue 2
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 17, 211–220, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-17-211-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 17, 211–220, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-17-211-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  13 Apr 2010

13 Apr 2010

An extension of conditional nonlinear optimal perturbation approach and its applications

M. Mu1,2, W. Duan2, Q. Wang2,3, and R. Zhang2,3 M. Mu et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Ocean Circulation and Wave, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao 266071, China
  • 2LASG, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
  • 3Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing100049, China

Abstract. The approach of conditional nonlinear optimal perturbation (CNOP) was previously proposed to find the optimal initial perturbation (CNOP-I) in a given constraint. In this paper, we extend the CNOP approach to search for the optimal combined mode of initial perturbations and model parameter perturbations. This optimal combined mode, also named CNOP, has two special cases: one is CNOP-I that only links with initial perturbations and has the largest nonlinear evolution at a prediction time; while the other is merely related to the parameter perturbations and is called CNOP-P, which causes the largest departure from a given reference state at a prediction time. The CNOP approach allows us to explore not only the first kind of predictability related to initial errors, but also the second kind of predictability associated with model parameter errors, moreover, the predictability problems of the coexistence of initial errors and parameter errors. With the CNOP approach, we study the ENSO predictability by a theoretical ENSO model. The results demonstrate that the prediction errors caused by the CNOP errors are only slightly larger than those yielded by the CNOP-I errors and then the model parameter errors may play a minor role in producing significant uncertainties for ENSO predictions. Thus, it is clear that the CNOP errors and their resultant prediction errors illustrate the combined effect on predictability of initial errors and model parameter errors and can be used to explore the relative importance of initial errors and parameter errors in yielding considerable prediction errors, which helps identify the dominant source of the errors that cause prediction uncertainties. It is finally expected that more realistic models will be adopted to investigate this use of CNOP.

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