Estimating Climatically Relevant Singular Vectors for Decadal Predictions of the Atlantic Ocean
Abstract A key aspect in designing an efficient decadal prediction system is ensuring that the uncertainty in the ocean initial conditions is sampled optimally. Here one strategy for addressing this issue is considered by investigating the growth of optimal perturbations in the third climate configuration of the Met Office Unified Model (HadCM3) global climate model (GCM). More specifically, climatically relevant singular vectors (CSVs)?the small perturbations of which grow most rapidly for a specific set of initial conditions?are estimated for decadal time scales in the Atlantic Ocean. It is found that reliable CSVs can be estimated by running a large ensemble of integrations of the GCM. Amplification of the optimal perturbations occurs for more than 10 yr, and possibly up to 40 yr. The identified regions for growing perturbations are found to be in the far North Atlantic, and these perturbations cause amplification through an anomalous meridional overturning circulation response. Additionally, this type of analysis potentially informs the design of future ocean observing systems by identifying the sensitive regions where small uncertainties in the ocean state can grow maximally. Although these CSVs are expensive to compute, ways in which the process could be made more efficient in the future are identified.