Reply to Steppeler’s Reply

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  • 1 Department of Geosciences, University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • | 2 Department of Meteorology, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
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Corresponding author address: Dr. A. A. Tsonis, Department of Geosciences, University of Wisconsin, P.O. Box 413, Lapham Hall, Milwaukee, WI 53201.

Corresponding author address: Dr. A. A. Tsonis, Department of Geosciences, University of Wisconsin, P.O. Box 413, Lapham Hall, Milwaukee, WI 53201.

Our comment was written in order to bring to the attention of the readers an important issue regarding subsystems of chaotic systems. Dr. Steppeler implies in the title of his original paper that he is going to consider El Niño as a subsystem of a “grand” chaotic system. In this case it appears proper to reference some of the work that has in the past provided evidence that El Niño is indeed chaotic and possibly a subsystem of a grand complex system. It is clear in our comment that we do not claim to have invented the notion of subsystems. What we state is that we suggested the notion of subsystems in chaotic climate dynamics. That is the purpose of the first paragraph of our comment, not to elevate ourselves as Dr. Steppeler seems to suggest in his reply. In any case, the main point of our comment is clear: If one considers subsystems of a grand complex system then one should also consider the connectivities among them. Dr. Steppeler’s rather evasive and long reply deals with a number of unrelated issues but avoids addressing this issue. If the words “dimension” and “subsystems” in his paper have a different meaning than those commonly used in the context of nonlinear dynamical systems, then the title and overture of the paper are incompatible with the rest of the paper.

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