Really interesting mechanistic reductionism illustrating what it means to explain phenomena scientifically. It’s all about the maths.
In our book Mathematical GeoEnergy, several geophysical processes are modeled — from conventional tides to ENSO. Each model fits the data applying a concise physics-derived algorithm — the key being the algorithm’s conciseness but not necessarily subjective intuitiveness.
I’ve followed Gell-Mann’s work on complexity over the years and so will try applying his qualitative effective complexity approach to characterize the simplicity of the geophysics models described in the book and on this blog.
Here’s a breakdown from least complex to most complex
1. Say we are doing tidal analysis by fitting a model to a historical sea-level height (SLH) tidal gauge time-series. That’s essentially an effective complexity of1because it just involves fitting amplitudes and phases from known lunisolar sinusoidal tidal cycles.
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