Thursday, April 24, 2008

RealClimate lauds Ed Lorenz

Like a lot of people, I've done scientific work made possible by Professor Lorenz, say in EOFs or with Chaos. And it's a nice article to read if you want a character to think about in the evolution of modern thought, or get sciency things to say at cocktail parties.
But how can climate be predictable if weather is chaotic? The trick lies in the statistics. In those same models that demonstrate the extreme sensitivity to initial conditions, it turns out that the long term means and other moments are stable. This is equivalent to the 'butterfly' pattern seen in the figure above being statistically independent of how you started the calculation. The lobes and their relative position don't change if you run the model long enough. Climate change then is equivalent seeing how the structure changes, while not being too concerned about the specific trajectory you are on.
You might want to spend some time in the comments section as well.

Rest in peace. The alternative being zombie meteorologists, I guess.

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