Showing posts with label complexity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label complexity. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A grand symphony weaves complex patterns

While Mark Twain said “Climate is what we expect; weather is what we get,” Heidi Cullen, chief climatologist for Climate Central, describes climate as an orchestra.
I think of climate as being like an orchestra. It has so many elements, the way an orchestra has many sounds. 

If you have listened deeply to complex orchestral compositions from different composers, you'll see that the analogy fits well. From mild, balmy climates to the freezing arctic or windy mountains, there's music to match.

Orchestral music can mimic the rhythms of climatic variation, the oscillating repetitions of El Nino or the Arctic Oscillation Index, as well as unexpected variations on a theme.

Cullen notes that climate change has added a new element to the music played by the climate orchestra— a steady drumbeat of warming in our climate system, caused by us.

What should you listen for when you listen to the climate orchestra? While you enjoy the seasonal riffs, the musical motifs and embellishments, the highs and lows, and the transitions, don't lose track of the rising tempo of the kettle drums up the back.

They are counting the increasing number of extreme weather events. Last year, 2011 set the record for the most billion-dollar weather disasters—14 of them, in one year.