APR 15, 2022 7:00 AM PDT

Chaos Theory Hints at Controlling Our Weather

WRITTEN BY: Amanpreet Kaur

In the last few years, we witnessed countless wildfires, and a big increase in the number of tornados, droughts, and floods. To minimize loss of life, sometimes we wish that we could find a way to control these extreme weather phenomena. Recently, scientists led by Dr. Takemasa Miyoshi from the RIKEN Center for Computational Science conducted an experiment that suggests that weather might actually be controlled. This work, published in the Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics journal in 2022, is based on computer simulations that employ the butterfly effect from the famous chaos theory in Physics. 

Chaos theory refers to the study of extreme and unpredictable changes in dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to the initial conditions in that system. The Butterfly effect was first introduced by an MIT meteorologist, Edward Norton Lorenz in the 1960s, who suggested that the flap of a butterfly’s wings might cause a tornado. In other words, a small perturbation in a system somewhere can lead to big consequences somewhere else. One optimistic way to think about it in this situation is to intentionally cause a perturbation to reach the desired outcome. For example, controlling our weather to avoid disastrous and extreme effects such as tornadoes, floods, and droughts.

 These researchers used supercomputers to run one simulation for natural weather and then ran many others by adding small variations in certain parameters which define the movement of heat in a given system. By running these multiple simulations, the authors found that these tiny variations could lead to quite different outcomes depending upon how much time is spent in a particular state. In other words, this investigation provided a hint toward the actual controllability of our weather in the future. 

All this work opens a door into research that would eventually allow us to control the weather and hence avoid disasters posing threat to life on Earth. This research is particularly useful today when climate change is bringing a lot of unexpected calamities such as typhoons, floods, etc.  These authors plan to use actual weather models which are more complex and therefore need more thorough investigation and more simulations. Discussing the overall impact of this kind of study, these researchers state the following, “we must consider and assess every potential impact caused by the control and have proper protocols for social, ethical, and legal agreement about real-world operations.”

 

 

Source: Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics

About the Author
PhD in Physics
Aman (she/her) is a scientific writer at labroots and an astrophysics researcher at Penn State University. She works in the field of high-energy astrophysics such as black holes, gamma-rays, etc., and collects data from various space telescopes to conduct her research. She received her doctorate from Clemson University in Physics. On a personal note, she loves spending time out in nature; camping or hiking. If given a choice, she will decorate her house only with plants, did she say she likes plants? :D
You May Also Like
MAY 12, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Precipitation helped drive distribution of Alaska dinosaurs
MAY 12, 2022
Precipitation helped drive distribution of Alaska dinosaurs
Dinosaurs are fascinating creatures, and everyone has their favorite one, most notably the Tyrannosaurus Rex, rightfully ...
MAY 15, 2022
Earth & The Environment
This Day in Science: Mount St Helens Eruption Anniversary
MAY 15, 2022
This Day in Science: Mount St Helens Eruption Anniversary
Volcanic eruptions are some of the most awesome spectacles in nature, as watching the interior of the planet we live on ...
MAY 18, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Landslides can have a major impact on glacier melt and movement
MAY 18, 2022
Landslides can have a major impact on glacier melt and movement
When we think of glaciers, horrifying images of them receding into the water because of climate change immediately come ...
MAY 19, 2022
Space & Astronomy
NASA Rocket to Discover the Key to Life on Earth
MAY 19, 2022
NASA Rocket to Discover the Key to Life on Earth
A rocket carrying NASA’s Endurance Mission launched successfully on May 10, 2022 from Andøya Space’s ...
JUN 01, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
Hydrogen production method could power your car
JUN 01, 2022
Hydrogen production method could power your car
Gas prices have been skyrocketing to unprecedented and historic levels in just the last few months, and with no end in s ...
JUN 17, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
A Wandering Star Twisted the Magnetic Field in a Stellar Nursery
JUN 17, 2022
A Wandering Star Twisted the Magnetic Field in a Stellar Nursery
Stellar Nurseries are fascinating places to look at to see the signatures of stars and sometimes the process of planet f ...
Loading Comments...