RIKEN Research: Flitting between the wings of a butterfly
Just making small tweaks to certain variables could potentially modify extreme weather events such as sudden downpours, computer simula- tions by two RIKEN researchers have shown. Scientists have long desired to develop ways to control the weather. Research in this area has intensified due to climate change, which is giving rise to more extreme weather events. Present methods for modifying the weather have limited success. Seeding the atmosphere can induce rain, but only when the atmosphere is already in a state where it might rain. Geoen- gineering projects have been envisioned, but they have yet to be conducted due to concerns about unpredicted long-term effects. As a promising approach, Takemasa Miyoshi and Qiwen Sun, both of the RIKEN Center for Computational Science, have looked to chaos theory to assess the possibility of mitigating weather events such as torrential rain by making small changes. Instead of con- sidering the weather system in all its complexity, they focused on a far simpler system—the butterfly attractor.
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