Critical phenomena in atmospheric observations

  • Ole Peters (Santa Fe Institute, USA)
A3 02 (Seminar room)


In a broad sense, the branch of statistical physics called "critical phenomena" deals with scale free systems. In the atmospheric sciences observations of apparently scale-free systems abound: area-perimeter relations in clouds display a robust fractal dimension of 4/3, rain event-size distributions are non-trivially scale-free over 5 orders of magnitude, the variance of precipitation rate obeys finite-size scaling as measurement resolution is changed. From the standpoint of statistical physics I will point out that most of these observations can be related to geometric or dynamical phase transitions. Methodological issues related to causal networks will be discussed.

Katharina Matschke

MPI for Mathematics in the Sciences Contact via Mail