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Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  20 Jul 2020

20 Jul 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal NPG.

Influence of extreme events modeled by Lévy flight on global thermohaline circulation stability

Daniel Tesfay1, Larissa Serdukova2, Yayun Zheng1, Pingyuan Wei1, Jinqiao Duan3, and Jürgen Kurths4 Daniel Tesfay et al.
  • 1School of Mathematics and Statistics & Wuhan Center for Mathematical Sciences, Huazhong University of Science andTechnology, Wuhan 430074, China
  • 2School of Mathematics, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA
  • 3Department of Applied Mathematics, Illinois Institute of Technology, 312-567-5335, Chicago 60616, USA
  • 4Research Domain on Transdisciplinary Concepts and Methods, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, PO Box 6012 03, 14412 Potsdam, Germany

Abstract. How will extreme events due to human activities and climate change affect the oceanic thermohaline circulation is a key concern in climate predictions. The stability of the thermohaline circulation with respect to extreme events, such as fresh-water oscillations, greenhouse gas accumulations and collapse of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, is examined using a conceptual stochastic Stommel two-compartment model. The extreme fluctuations are modeled by symmetric α-stable Lévy motions whose pathways are cádlág functions with at most a countable number of jumps. The mean first passage time, escape probability and stochastic basin of attraction are used to perform the stability analysis of on (off) equilibrium states. Our results argue that for model with weak fresh-water forcing strength, the greatest threat to the stability of the on-state represents noise with low jumps and higher frequency that can be seen as civilization-induced greenhouse gas accumulation. On the other hand, the off-state stability is more vulnerable to the agitations with moderate jumps and frequencies which can be interpreted as wind- driven circulations towards higher latitudes. Under the repercussion of stochastic noise, on to off transitions are more expected in the model if the fresh-water influx is strong. Moreover, transitions from one metastable state to another are equiprobable when the fresh-water input induces a symmetric potential well.

Daniel Tesfay et al.

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Daniel Tesfay et al.

Daniel Tesfay et al.


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Latest update: 28 Oct 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
For more than a decade, the climate has attracted stochastic dynamists with its unpredictable and complex phenomena. Our attention was attracted by the results of studies on the possibility of oceanic thermohaline circulation failure. We set the task to analyze the stability of the circulation current on-state and to predetermine what extreme events can unbalance it leading to attenuation. We also suggested possible scenarios for the resuscitation of the circulation in the event of its fading.
For more than a decade, the climate has attracted stochastic dynamists with its unpredictable...