non-linearity, definition of


Process without a simple proportional relation between cause and effect. The climate system contains many non-linear processes, resulting in a system with very complex behavior.

Note: Complex systematic behavior does not imply dramatic chaotic behavior; multiple cause and effect processes 'overlap' in their effect - much like waves in a sea, often canceling each other out and creating relative 'calm'. Although every once in a while you will get effects that mutually enhance each other and cause dramatic short or long term lived events or features in the climate (i.e. tornadoes, gulf streams, etc).

News & Blog articles where 'non-linearity' used:
  • Are Climate Feedbacks Strongly Non-Linear?
    Is it possible that the Earth’s system is strongly buffered with strong positive ice and dust feedbacks prevailing at colder temperatures, and strong negative convection/evaporation feedbacks prevailing in warmer times?
  • Emulation, ±4 W/m² Long Wave Cloud Forcing Error, and Meaning
    Guest post by Pat Frank My September 7 post describing the recent paper published in Frontiers in Earth Science on GCM physical error analysis attracted a lot of attention, consisting of both support and criticism...
  • Additional Comments on the Frank (2019) “Propagation of Error” Paper
    From Dr Roy Spencer’s Blog September 12th, 2019 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. NOTE: This post has undergone a few revisions as I try to be more precise in my wording. The latest revision was at 0900 CDT Sept. 12, 2019. If this post is re-posted elsewhere,...
  • Temperature and TOA Forcing
    Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach I’ve been thinking about temperature and top-of-atmosphere (TOA) forcing. TOA forcing is the imbalance between the TOA upwelling and downwelling radiation. The CERES satellite dataset contains observations of the TOA...
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