Estimating probability distributions from complex models with bifurcations: The case of ocean circulation collapse

Mort D. Webster, Jeff Scott, Andrei Sokolov, Peter Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Studying the uncertainty in computationally expensive models has required the development of specialized methods, including alternative sampling techniques and response surface approaches. However, existing techniques for response surface development break down when the model being studied exhibits discontinuities or bifurcations. One uncertain variable that exhibits this behavior is the thermohaline circulation (THC) as modeled in three dimensional general circulation models. This is a critical uncertainty for climate change policy studies. We investigate the development of a response surface for studying uncertainty in THC using the Deterministic Equivalent Modeling Method, a stochastic technique using expansions in orthogonal polynomials. We show that this approach is unable to reasonably approximate the model response. We demonstrate an alternative representation that accurately simulates the model's response, using a basis function with properties similar to the model's response over the uncertain parameter space. This indicates useful directions for future methodological improvements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Environmental Systems
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004

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bifurcation
thermohaline circulation
general circulation model
discontinuity
ocean circulation
distribution
climate change
modeling
method

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "Studying the uncertainty in computationally expensive models has required the development of specialized methods, including alternative sampling techniques and response surface approaches. However, existing techniques for response surface development break down when the model being studied exhibits discontinuities or bifurcations. One uncertain variable that exhibits this behavior is the thermohaline circulation (THC) as modeled in three dimensional general circulation models. This is a critical uncertainty for climate change policy studies. We investigate the development of a response surface for studying uncertainty in THC using the Deterministic Equivalent Modeling Method, a stochastic technique using expansions in orthogonal polynomials. We show that this approach is unable to reasonably approximate the model response. We demonstrate an alternative representation that accurately simulates the model's response, using a basis function with properties similar to the model's response over the uncertain parameter space. This indicates useful directions for future methodological improvements.",
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Estimating probability distributions from complex models with bifurcations : The case of ocean circulation collapse. / Webster, Mort D.; Scott, Jeff; Sokolov, Andrei; Stone, Peter.

In: Journal of Environmental Systems, Vol. 31, No. 1, 01.12.2004, p. 1-21.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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