Federal Centre for Complexity and Exobiology

About COEX









Royal Meteorological Institute

Address: Dynamical Meteorology and Climatology Unit, 3, Av. Circulaire B-1180 Brussels, Belgium

Contact person: Rouvas-Nicolis, Catherine: cnicolis@oma.be


The research conducted in the Unit is devoted to the fundamental aspects of the dynamics of the atmosphere and climate, viewed as complex systems. Of special interest are the variability observed in a wide range of time and space scales and the issue of prediction. These problems are tackled by applying, adapting and extending the concepts and tools of nonlinear dynamics, chaos theory (fractals) and stochastic processes along with advanced simulation and data analysis techniques. The main ideas are first tested on low-order models and are subsequently applied to realistic forecasting models.

Besides its research activity, the Unit is involved in the training of undergraduate and doctoral students, and post-doctoral fellows. C. Rouvas-Nicolis provides a course on "Modèles mathématiques en géophysique" at the mathematics and physics departments of the Université Libre de Bruxelles .

Research Projects

Belgian federal Office for Scientific, Technical and Cultural Affairs: Dynamique non-linéaire et statistique des décharges électriques dans l'atmosphère (2001-2004).

ESA grant C90042 : Thermodynamic and statistical physical aspects of protein crystallization (2004).

European Science Foundation: Stochastic dynamics: fundamentals and applications (2003-2006).

Research themes

  • The development of a theory of the error growth in unstable dynamical systems and its application to low and intermediate order atmospheric models.
  • The modelling of the quaternary glaciations and the discovery of the phenomenon of stochastic resonance, providing a qualitative explanation of the sensitivity of the climatic system to weak external forcings.
  • The discovery of the chaotic nature of the dynamics of the quaternary glaciations and its modelling.
  • The development of statistical prediction models and their use in the classification and prediction of weather and hydrological regimes, as well as in the recurrence of atmospheric analogs and extreme events.

Other (Public outreach, conferences, equipments ...)

Co-organizer and co-editor of the proceedings:

  1. New perspectives in climate nodelling, 1984, Elsevier.
  2. Irreversible Phenomena and dynamical systems analysis in Geosciences, 1987, Reidel, Dordrecht .
  3. Fluctuations in Physics and Biology : Stochastic Resonance, signal processing and related phenomena, 1995, Il Nuovo Cimento, 17D.

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