Dynamical Meteorology and Climatology Unit


Tipping points in the climate system are thresholds where a tiny change could push the system into a completely new state. They are of particular interest in reference to concerns about global warming.

The EU Horizon 2020 project Multiscales and Critical Transitions in the Earth System ‘CriticalEarth’ project will train 15 early-stage researchers (ESR) on new methods for assessing the mechanisms and associated risks of critical transitions in the climate. The focus will be on investigating how complex mathematics can be used to predict and avoid irreversible climate change. The network will offer researchers an excellent background for working with cross-disciplinary teams in academia, industry, and governmental and non-governmental institutions.

More information about the project can be found here.


Specific project at the RMIB: Impact of climate change on low-frequency variability and predictability in a hierarchy of climate models

The atmosphere and the climate system display erratic dynamics whose main property is sensitivity to initial conditions. This property is the generic signature of deterministic chaos. Systems displaying such dynamics have been studied for a long time on theoretical and practical grounds. One main characteristic of the solutions of such systems is that they are organized around a dense set of unstable periodic orbits (UPOs). One current conjecture is that these orbits are cornerstones in the development of atmospheric blockings, or decadal variability in the extratropical atmosphere. In a world impacted by climate change, these unstable structures should also display changes that could considerably affect the emergence of blocking or decadal low-frequency variability. Analysing how these UPOs are modified under climate change will lead to a better understanding how climate change will affect the low-frequency variability present inthe atmosphere. This investigation will be performed in a hierarchy of climate models of increasing complexity using tools of nonlinear sciences.

More information:

Mr. Oisin Hamilton, PhD candidate

Dr. Stéphane Vannitsem, supervisor at RMIB

Professor Michel Crucifix, supervisor at the Université Catholique de Louvain

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