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Emergent phenomena, it is what nature does. Whenever there is a difference, nature finds ways to alleviate it. Self-organizing, self-sustaining, increasingly complex systems are efficient ways to use energy and reduce gradients.

One might call these emergent phenomena living.

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I came across a lovely photograph of a “fire devil”, also called a “fire whirl”. I liked it because the photo perfectly exemplified what is wrong with the current generation of climate models.

firedog

What is wrong with the models is that they don’t include any of the vortex-based emergent atmospheric phenomena like fire devils.

Let me start with the concept of “emergent phenomena”. Emergent phenomena are phenomena which:

  • Emerge spontaneously from the background when certain thresholds are exceeded. Below the threshold there are none. Above the threshold, the number emerging can increase very rapidly.
  • Have a lifetime.
  • Move, adapt, and change in response to environmental conditions.
  • Eventually dissipate, fade away, and die out.
  • In addition, emergent phenomena generally are not naively predictable from looking at the underlying conditions.

Here’s a way to understand naive predictability when it comes to emergence. Suppose we were members of…

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