Understanding the origin of extreme events in El Niño southern oscillation

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Physical Review E


We investigate a low-dimensional slow-fast model to understand the dynamical origin of El Niño southern oscillation. A close inspection of the system dynamics using several bifurcation plots reveals that a sudden large expansion of the attractor occurs at a critical system parameter via a type of interior crisis. This interior crisis evolves through merging of a cascade of period-doubling and period-adding bifurcations that leads to the origin of occasional amplitude-modulated extremely large events. More categorically, a situation similar to homoclinic chaos arises near the critical point; however, atypical global instability evolves as a channellike structure in phase space of the system that modulates variability of amplitude and return time of the occasional large events and makes a difference from the homoclinic chaos. The slow-fast timescale of the low-dimensional model plays an important role on the onset of occasional extremely large events. Such extreme events are characterized by their heights when they exceed a threshold level measured by a mean-excess function. The probability density of events' height displays multimodal distribution with an upper-bounded tail. We identify the dependence structure of interevent intervals to understand the predictability of return time of such extreme events using autoregressive integrated moving average model and box-plot analysis.



Publication Date



Open Access, Green

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