Prediction and Predictability in the Atmosphere and Oceans

A double spectrum overlaid with scattered dots on a graph.

Structure of the stable manifold for a two-dimensional, chaotic map. Black dots are points on the model attractor and red line is the local structure of the stable manifold - all points on the stable manifold collapse to the same point as they are integrated forward in time. The colors are a representation of the distance between a point in the space and a specified model trajectory. Note that the stable manifold lies in the minimum of this cost function space. (Courtesy of Prof. Jim Hansen.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2003



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Course Description

Forecasting is the ultimate form of model validation. But even if a perfect model is in hand, imperfect forecasts are likely. This course will cover the factors that limit our ability to produce good forecasts, will show how the quality of forecasts can be gauged a priori (predicting our ability to predict!), and will cover the state of the art in operational atmosphere and ocean forecasting systems.

Jim Hansen. 12.990 Prediction and Predictability in the Atmosphere and Oceans, Spring 2003. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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