Nonlinear dynamics approach to the predictability of the Cane–Zebiak coupled ocean–atmosphere model
The predictability of the Cane–Zebiak coupled ocean–atmosphere model is investigated using nonlinear dynamics analysis. Newer theoretical concepts are applied to the coupled model in order to help quantify maximal prediction horizons for finite amplitude perturbations on different scales. Predictability analysis based on the maximum Lyapunov exponent considers infinitesimal perturbations, which are associated with errors in the smallest fastest-evolving scales of motion. However, these errors become irrelevant for the predictability of larger scale motions. In this study we employed finite-size Lyapunov exponent analysis to assess the predictability of the Cane–Zebiak coupled ocean–atmosphere model as a function of scale. We demonstrate the existence of fast and slow timescales, as noted in earlier studies, and the expected enhanced predictability of the anomalies on large scales. The final results and conclusions clarify the applicability of these new methods to seasonal forecasting problems.