An Intransitive Model of the Earth-Atmosphere-Ocean System

Aron Faegre Physics Dept., Reed College, Portland, Ore.

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Abstract

The earth is regarded as a whole system. BY considering the sources, sinks and flows of energy, a simple steady-state model is developed. It is found that there are five solutions, corresponding to five climates, consistent with present value of the model's parameters. One of these corresponds quite accurately to the present climate of the earth. Another corresponds to what might be necessary for an ice age. When perturbed slightly, several of the solutions (including the one corresponding to the earth's present climate) are found to become unstable. The only completely stable climate is one for which the earth is ice-covered.

Abstract

The earth is regarded as a whole system. BY considering the sources, sinks and flows of energy, a simple steady-state model is developed. It is found that there are five solutions, corresponding to five climates, consistent with present value of the model's parameters. One of these corresponds quite accurately to the present climate of the earth. Another corresponds to what might be necessary for an ice age. When perturbed slightly, several of the solutions (including the one corresponding to the earth's present climate) are found to become unstable. The only completely stable climate is one for which the earth is ice-covered.

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