Monday, September 27, 2010

Only Opportunity

Happened upon this
The constraints imposed by the planetary ecosystem require continuous adjustment and permanent adaptation. Predictive skills are of secondary importance.
Hendrik Tennekes
 and thought of this
There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity.
General Douglas MacArthur
Tennekes concludes with
From my background in turbulence I look forward with grim anticipation to the day that climate models will run with a horizontal resolution of less than a kilometer. The horrible predictability problems of turbulent flows then will descend on climate science with a vengeance.
I have his book; it is rather good.


  1. These requirements are the key to "solving problems that are too hard to be solved." All processes based on these requirements are iterative and occasionally recursive. In the nuclear software field, we use these requirements for what are called Corrective Action Programs. As long as an organization has a functioning CAP in place, their software will get better over time.

  2. Predictable unpredictability or
    Unpredictable predictability?

  3. More generally, the problem of deducing the climate from the physical laws which influence the climate may be viewed as a special case of an easily stated mathematical problem: Given a closed system of equations, to deduce the set of long-term statistics of the solutions of these equaitons. This more general problem has recieved considerable attention from mathematicians. Questions concerning the existence and uniqueness of long-term statistics fall into the realm of ergodic theory.
    Climatic Determinism

    As my reader Tom Vonk often points out, ergodic theory for the PDEs of interest is not well established. Nobody knows if a "thermodynamics of climate" actually exists. So I think WHT's question is an open one.

    See also the slightly more recent Climatic Predictability

  4. Sorry for double posting, should have inlcuded this one too: Predictability: a problem partly solved

  5. In the theme of unpredictably predictable (I think): 'Chaogates' Hold Promise for the Semiconductor Industry; seems interesting, but not much meat there; mostly seems to be a press release for ChaoLogix.