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Butterfly Effect ever observed?

  1. Nov 18, 2009 #1
    How much influence does the Butterfly Effect have in our proximity? Even the Sun's planetary orbits, over billions of years, having experienced myriad nonlinear small interactions (here the "butterflies"), have seemingly resulted in very few chaotic catastrophic outcomes (hence "effects").
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2009 #2
    Butterfly effect comes into play in many fluid systems that involve turbulence. A good example is atmosphere. Even our best supercomputers, fed by high-resolution infrared imaging satellites, can't predict hurricane tracks with any certainty beyond 3-5 days. Atmosphere is inherently chaotic to some degree.
     
  4. Nov 18, 2009 #3

    DaveC426913

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    Yes, the Butterfly Effect is used to describe chaotic systems. Orbital mechanics is not an area strong in chaos; most of its systems are negatively reinforcing (for example, a planet drifting out of place tends to be nudged back into place.)

    Weather is the poster-child for chaos.
     
  5. Nov 19, 2009 #4
    Well from what i have learned about this, the so called "Butterfly Effect" talks about how a small change in a system can lead to a gigantic or significat change with time. Now to observe a change in a system you would have had to already have run it before. Lets say you have a model of Earth enclosed so that no outside force or thing could effect it. Now lets run the simulation. You will see that if you dont change anything in it, the same thing will always happen. Now lets say you put a fan in it. the fan is not noticably strong in any sense. If the fan has a big enough impact you could end up with an Earth that is completely changed, maybe there would be more huricanes, or less or anything really. So since we can not change the past I dont know how this "effect" can be felt if we havent changed anything. Now as for knowing the Future, this could work. Once we figure out how to do that
     
  6. Nov 19, 2009 #5

    DaveC426913

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    It can certainly be demonstrated in a lab setting. Try balancing a golfball on top of a beachball a hundred times. Plot which way it rolls off.

    It is however, notoriously difficult to apply to something as astoundingly complex as Earths' weather.
     
  7. Nov 19, 2009 #6
    "Spontaneous symmetry breaking", anyone?
     
  8. Nov 19, 2009 #7
    Higgs mechanism?
     
  9. Nov 21, 2009 #8
    Is this consistent with a deterministic chaos theory? Doesn't "spontaneous" imply acausal?
     
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