Saturday, August 25, 2018


Are there butterflies who flap their wings and so prevent storms and hurricanes?


William M. Connolley said...

I'm not sure if you're serious, but if you are: the butterflies stuff is just a way of saying that the evolution of the weather is sensitive to initial conditions. So any initial perturbation will lead to different hurricanes in different places at different times, compared to an unperturbed state. But it doesn't affect the climate, so the long-term-average number and strength of hurricanes remains the same. Nor is it possible to "design" a butterfly-flap to place a hurricane at a given location and time, or to unplace one.

David in Cal said...

Well written, William. Yes, the "butterfly effect" is meant to illustrate that the weather follows something like mathematical chaos theory. It's not possible figure out what weather will result from a given set of initial conditions.


David Appell said...

Thanks William. But, yeah, I wasn't being serious -- I just thought it was a clever thought. Maybe not!