The butterfly is a colourful illustration of Chaos Theory, and the word butterfly came from the diagram of the state space (see below).
A system that is chaotic is extremely sensitive on its initial value. In principle, if you know exactly how the state of the universe is now, you could calculate how it develops (but due to other reasons, it is ...
Predictability: Does the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?
That was the title of Edward Lorenz's invited talk at the 139th meeting of the American Association of the Advancement of Science held in 1972. This is the origin of the term "butterfly effect". The catchy title suggests that the answer must be "Yes!" Why else ask ...
There's quite a bit of evidence to support that at least part of the climate system is chaotic.
According to the IPCC:
The climate system is particularly challenging since it is known that
components in the system are inherently chaotic; there are feedbacks
that could potentially switch sign, and there are central processes
that affect the system ...
One problem here is the defition of chaos. In the mathematical theory of dynamical systems, a system is chaotic if it contains both dense and periodic points. This is somewhat different from what one thinks chaos means.
Let's say that by chaotic, for continuous-time dynamical systems, we mean sensitive to initial conditions, i.e., that a (general, random) ...
The causes of a single particular extreme weather event, like a tornado, may never be fully understood, especially if it is a chaotic system. The causes or contributing factors to the number of tornados expected for a particular atmospheric condition is much more fully understood and is certainly not chaotic. In that sense, butterflies do not cause tornados.
While it is not about butterflies, scientist have found weather in the United States and Noctilucent Clouds in Antarctica to be linked across thousands of miles.
Here are a few excerpts of what they have found:
New data from NASA's AIM spacecraft have revealed "teleconnections" in Earth's atmosphere that stretch all the way from the North Pole to the ...
There are (at least) two factors involved here, before we even get to questions of chaos theory. First, thanks to weather satellites and other sensor improvements, we can measure the initial conditions much more accurately. (One can do a halfway decent 3-day forecast for the West Coast just by eyeballing the GOES West images.)
Second, we have greatly ...
It's just a demonstration of cause-and-effect.
Over time(years and years) even the smallest motions compound, and the eddies from butterfies wings will be the difference between a tornado and a clear day.