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Author Topic: Do climate models incorporate chaos theory?  (Read 3710 times)

alison marshall

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Do climate models incorporate chaos theory?
« on: 15/10/2011 15:01:02 »
alison marshall  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Dear Chris.

This question was inspired by the inadequacies in climate change models to give accurate predictions. Do mathematical equations used in climate change models incorporate Chaos Theory formular?  By adding Chaos Theory math it would account for the ongoing geophysical changes at both a macro and a micro level, and identify the naturally occurring patterns of the earths geomorphology.

Any response to this question would be appreciated.

Regards

Alison

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 15/10/2011 15:01:02 by _system »


 

Offline damocles

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Do climate models incorporate chaos theory?
« Reply #1 on: 17/10/2011 16:02:35 »
Perhaps climate theory models do not so much "incorporate" as "suffer from" chaos theory formulae.

I find it hard to see how chaos theory could help much with a simulation of these sorts of Earth systems. I have not read much of recent chaos theory achievements. From my preliminary readings a few years ago, it seemed that chaos theory was pretty good at telling you where the boundaries were, and when a model was likely to run into or out of chaos. But when your system is fairly firmly camped in a chaotic region -- as seems to be the case with climate modelling -- can chaos theory really tell you anything more than what you already knew?
 

Offline imatfaal

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Do climate models incorporate chaos theory?
« Reply #2 on: 17/10/2011 16:37:43 »
Climate modellers practically invented Chaos Theory! 

Edward Lorenz was a modeller who decided to get very basic and use very few simple equations with limited variables in a "pet earth model".  he expected that he would get a nice stable model that he could then enlarge and complify (I want that to mean make more complex but I don't think it exists as a word).  However he soon found that repeated iterations of very simple equations soon lead to amazing variations.  This was one of the first signs of emergent chaos from simple systems - he even coined the term "butterfly effect"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Norton_Lorenz

Now days the most complex modelling done that involves chaotic systems are in nuclear physics and in meteorology.  The met office here run the weather calculations (which again are multiple equations iterated many thousands of time) in parallel form - that is for each weather system they will run millions of scenarios with minuscule differences in initial conditions; what you see on the forecast is the most likely outcome.  FYG in 2009 the Met Office installed the most powerful computer in the UK
 

Offline Geezer

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Do climate models incorporate chaos theory?
« Reply #3 on: 17/10/2011 22:21:11 »
FYG in 2009 the Met Office installed the most powerful computer in the UK

Wow! I could have saved them a ton of money by giving them a Z80 system that printed out the forecasts.

Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
Cloudy with a chance of showers.
 

Offline imatfaal

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Do climate models incorporate chaos theory?
« Reply #4 on: 18/10/2011 12:07:39 »
FYG in 2009 the Met Office installed the most powerful computer in the UK

Wow! I could have saved them a ton of money by giving them a Z80 system that printed out the forecasts.

Cloudy with a chance of showers.
/snip

Yaa boo sucks to you - grey Scotland might only need that forecast but London is positively mediterranean at present (actually a fair bit colder)

taken today from office window at 1201

 
 

Offline Geezer

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Do climate models incorporate chaos theory?
« Reply #5 on: 18/10/2011 17:29:30 »

London is positively mediterranean at present (actually a fair bit colder)


Well that's strange. I'm working my way through the entire "A Touch of Frost" series at the moment (Mullet, aka "Horn Rimmed Harry" is hilarious!), and I have not noticed too many days that could be described as "Mediterranean".
 

Offline imatfaal

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Do climate models incorporate chaos theory?
« Reply #6 on: 18/10/2011 17:43:39 »

London is positively mediterranean at present (actually a fair bit colder)

Well that's strange. I'm working my way through the entire "A Touch of Frost" series at the moment (Mullet, aka "Horn Rimmed Harry" is hilarious!), and I have not noticed too many days that could be described as "Mediterranean".

Tha's cos it was filmed in the republic of yorkshire.  I think I am in an episode - I am the drunken student that walks across the back of the shot.  They were filming in Leeds at about 4/5 in the morning - and I was walking home after a quick drink and thought it was hilarious to keep walking through the shot; I never saw it but my brother claimed he spotted me.
 

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Do climate models incorporate chaos theory?
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