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Is the unpredictability of clouds due to QM uncertainty?

  1. Aug 30, 2012 #1
    As I see it the unpredictability of clouds can have two causes:

    1. quantum indeterminacy or
    2. Clouds are classical objects but they are so complicated that they cannot in practice be predicted

    I'm inclined to think 1 is correct. Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure protons' position is highly determined but an electron's position is not. Those electrons are forming bonds with other atoms to make molecules and because it is the electrons that dictate the bond and because electrons are indeterministic, therefore the actual molecular composition of the clouds is also indeterministic.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2012 #2


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    Weather modeling is done with classical simulations, no QM is needed. A few buzzwords: chaos theory, nonlinear dynamics, dynamical system
  4. Aug 30, 2012 #3
    I have a real difficult time believing this. The minute temperature fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwaves Background I'm pretty sure are within the bounds of the Uncertainty Principle and it is that tiny bit of uncertainty which eventually spawned the galaxies and transformed our universe from almost completely uniform or smooth to the universe we see today. If quantum uncertainty can cause galaxies, I would think it would be able to transform clouds.
  5. Aug 30, 2012 #4


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    My point was that QM is not needed to explain the unpredictability of clouds, classical statistical mechanics / thermodynamics is enough.

    However, since QM is the more fundamental theory, classical chaos has to emerge from it somehow. How this happens is a difficult question (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_chaos).
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