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