Literature/1972/Lorenz

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Lorenz, Edward Norton (1972). "Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?" Address at the 139th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sheraton Park Hotel, Boston, Mass., December 29, 1972.

Description[edit]

American Association for the Advancement of Science, 139th Meeting
Subject 
"Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?"
Author 
Edward N. Lorenz, Sc.D.
Professor of Meteorology
Address 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Mass. 02139
Time 
10:10 a.m., December 29, 1972
Place 
Sheraton Park Hotel, Wilmington Room
Program 
AAAS Section on Environmental Sciences
New Approaches to Global Weather: GARP
(The Global Atmospheric Research Program)
Convention Address 
Sheraton Park Hotel

Excerpts[edit]

Regardless of what any theoretical study may imply, conclusive proof that good day-to-day forecasts can be made at a range of two weeks or more would be afforded by any valid demonstration that any particular forecasting scheme generally yields good results at that range. To the best of our knowledge, no such demonstration has ever been offered. Of course, even pure guesses will be correct a certain percentage of the time.

Returning now the the question as originally posed, we notice some additional points not yet considered. First of all, the influence of a single butterfly is not only a fine detail -- it is confined to a small volume. Some of the numerical methods which seem to be well adapted for examining the intensification of errors care not suitable for studying the dispersion of errors from restricted to unrestricted regions. One hypothesis, unconfirmed, is that the influence of a butterfly's wings will spread in turbulent air, but on in calm air.

A second point is that Brazil and Texas lie in opposite hemispheres. The dynamical properties of the tropical atmosphere differ considerably from those of the atmosphere in temperate and polar latitudes. It is almost as if the tropical atmosphere were a different fluid. It seems entirely possible that an error might be able to spread many thousands of miles within the temperate latitudes of either hemisphere, while yet being unable to cross the equator.

We must therefore leave our original question unanswered for a few more years, even while affirming our faith in the instability of the atmosphere. Meanwhile, today's errors in weather forecasting cannot be blamed entirely nor even primarily upon the finer structure of weather patterns. They arise mainly from our failure to observe even the coarser structure with near completeness, our somewhat incomplete knowledge of the governing physical principles, and the inevitable approximations which must be introduced in formulating these principles as procedures which the human brain or the computer can carry out. These shortcomings cannot be entirely eliminated, but they can be greatly reduced by an expanded observing systems and intensive research. It is to the ultimate purpose of making not exact forecasts but the best forecasts which the atmosphere is willing to have us make that the Global Atmospheric Research Program is dedicated.

Wikimedia[edit]

w: Lorenz attractor

Chronology[edit]

  • Strogatz, Steven H. (1994). Nonlinear Systems and Chaos. Perseus publishing.
  • Frøyland, J. & K. H. Alfsen (1984). "Lyapunov-exponent Spectra for the Lorenz Model". Phys. Rev. A 29 (5): 2928-2931.
  • Grassberger, P. & I. Procaccia (1983). "Measuring the Strangeness of Strange Attractors". Physica D 9 (1-2): 189-208.
  • Knobloch, Edgar (1981). "Chaos in the Segmented Disc Dynamo". Physics Letters A 82 (9): 439-440.
  • Lorenz, Edward Norton (1976). "Nondeterministic Theories of Climate Change." Quaternary Research. Vol.6
  • Haken, H. (1975). "Analogy between Higher Instabilities in Fluids and Lasers." Physics Letters A 53 (1): 77-78.
  • Lorenz, Edward Norton (1972). "Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?" Address at the 139th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sheraton Park Hotel, Boston, Mass., December 29, 1972. [^]
  • Edward N. Lorenz (1969). "Atmospheric Predictability as Revealed by Naturally Occurring Analogues." Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 26: 636-646.
  • Lorenz, Edward Norton (1963). "Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow". Journal of Atmospheric Sciences 20(2): 130-141. [^]
Edward Norton Lorenz Publications
http://eapsweb.mit.edu/research/Lorenz/publications.htm

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Gradient-optical-illusion.svg
The shade of the bar looks invariant in isolation but variant in context, in (favor of) sharp contrast with the color gradient background, hence an innate illusion we have to reasonably interpret and overcome as well as the mirage. Such variance appearing seasonably from context to context may not only be the case with our vision but worldview in general in practice indeed, whether a priori or a posteriori. Perhaps no worldview from nowhere, without any point of view or prejudice at all!

Ogden & Richards (1923) said, "All experience ... is either enjoyed or interpreted ... or both, and very little of it escapes some degree of interpretation."

H. G. Wells (1938) said, "The human individual is born now to live in a society for which his fundamental instincts are altogether inadequate."