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On Rabbits, Foxes, Clouds, and Precipitation

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Date and time Mar 01, 2012
from 04:10 PM to 05:00 PM
Location McLennan Physics (MP) 102
Host Ted Shepherd

Graham Feingold

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)


Our ability to predict future climate states is significantly hampered by our inability to represent small-scale (order 100 m) processes associated with aerosol particles, clouds and precipitation in climate models.
The complexity of the aerosol-cloud-precipitation system has driven process-level model development that attempts to capture as much of the coupled physics as possible, but at considerable computational expense. While these represent important benchmarks for the system, they are far too expensive to be incorporated in climate models. In this talk I will show that this system exhibits emergence, and that in some cases, simple mathematical models may be appropriate. I will present two examples: The first will demonstrate the applicability of modified Lotka-Volterra equations, from the field of population dynamics, to the aerosol-cloud-precipitation system; the second will explore the applicability of the Kuramoto model to oscillating open cellular convection.

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