Complexity vs Simplicity in Geophysics

Really interesting mechanistic reductionism illustrating what it means to explain phenomena scientifically. It’s all about the maths.

GeoEnergy Math

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.

from Deacon_Information_Complexity_Depth.pdf

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.

Figure 1: Conventional tidal analysis by fitting amplitudes and phases of known tidal periods

This image has been resized to fit in the page…

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This entry was posted in abstraction, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Meteorological Association, American Statistical Association, Azimuth Project, complex systems, control theory, differential equations, dynamical systems, eigenanalysis, information theoretic statistics, mathematics, Mathematics and Climate Research Network, mechanistic models, nonlinear systems, Paul Pukite, spectra, spectral methods, spectroscopy, theoretical physics, wave equations, WHT. Bookmark the permalink.

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