Climate Fluctuations & Non-equilibrium Statistical Mechanics: An Interdisciplinary Dialog

Fluctuations have long been a focus of statistical mechanics, while climate and weather fluctuations are an essential part of the climate system. This seminar brings together researchers from the statistical mechanics and climate science communities to explore connections between the two fields and develop new multidisciplinary research directions.

Global warming is undeniably here and, for the welfare of the planet in the coming decades, it is urgent that we better understand changes to the climate. Since climate is the result of complex interactions between the atmosphere, oceans, polar ice, and life, it is a serious challenge to predict future conditions, especially extremes in the variability or fluctuations of climate.

A fundamental difficulty is that the solar radiation drives the climate system far away from thermal equilibrium, into a regime where the well established principles of thermodynamics developed in the 19th century cannot be reliably applied.

Non-equilibrium statistical mechanics is a rather young branch of theoretical physics that aims to identify overarching principles governing the behavior of such strongly driven systems, an endeavor that has been remarkably successful in recent years.

So far there has been only limited interactions between researchers in climate science and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, despite important implications of the work in each of the two fields for the other.

In the workshop and seminar to be held at MPIPKS 10.07-04.08, 2017 on “Climate Fluctuations and Non-equilibrium Statistical Mechanics: an interdisciplinary dialogue,” eminent scientists in both fields will have an opportunity to engage in dialogues, to benefit from cross-fertilization, and to initiate new interdisciplinary collaborations.

Over 50 participants from 11 countries are expected to attend. Invited speakers include key figures in both areas, e.g., Profs. Jarzynski (Maryland, USA), Rahmstorf (Potsdam, DE), Seifert (Stuttgart, DE), and Dr. Penland (NOAA, USA).

A public lecture, entitled “Neue Daten aus der Klimaforschung: Bekommen wir die Klimakrise noch in den Griff?” will be given by Prof. Rahmstorf on Tuesday 18.07 at 19:00. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

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Uta Gneiße Max-Planck-Institut für Physik komplexer Systeme

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