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Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 53–63 | Cite as

The potential role of spectral properties in detecting thresholds in the Earth system: application to the thermohaline circulation

  • Thomas Kleinen
  • Hermann Held
  • Gerhard Petschel-Held

Abstract

 A simple two-box model of the hemispheric thermohaline circulation (THC) is considered. The model parameterizes fluctuations in the freshwater forcing by a stochastic process. The dependence of the power spectral density and the lifetime of quasistationary states of the THC on the distance to the bifurcation point, where the THC collapses, is calculated analytically. It is shown that power spectral properties change as the system is moved closer to the bifurcation point. These changes allow an estimate of the distance to the bifurcation point.

Keywords Thermohaline circulation Stochastic climate model Power spectrum Indicator Bifurcation 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Kleinen
    • 1
  • Hermann Held
    • 1
  • Gerhard Petschel-Held
    • 1
  1. 1.Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), PO Box 601203, 14412 Potsdam, Germany e-mail: kleinen@pik-potsdam.deDE

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