The 50th Anniversary of the Metaphorical Butterfly Effect since Lorenz (1972): Multistability, Multiscale Predictability, and Sensitivity in Numerical Models

Bo Wen Shen, Roger A. Pielke, Xubin Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Lorenz rediscovered the butterfly effect, which is defined as the sensitive dependence on initial conditions (SDIC), in 1963. In 1972, he used the term “butterfly” as a metaphor to illustrate how a small perturbation can lead to a tornado with a complex structure. The metaphorical butterfly effect, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022, is not precisely the same as the original butterfly effect with SDIC. To commemorate the 50th anniversary, a Special Issue was launched and invited the submission of research and review articles that can help to enhance our understanding of both the original and metaphorical butterfly effects. The Special Issue also sought recent developments in idealized Lorenz models and real-world models that address multistability, multiscale predictability, and sensitivity. The call for papers was opened 15 months prior to the completion of the Special Issue and features nine selected papers. This editorial provides a brief review of Lorenz models, introduces the published papers, and summarizes each one of them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1279
JournalAtmosphere
Volume14
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Keywords

  • chaos
  • dual nature
  • generalized Lorenz model
  • multistability
  • predictability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)

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