Read, PL and Castrejón-Pita, AA (2010) Synchronization in climate dynamics and other extended systems. Understanding Complex Systems, 2010. pp. 153-176. ISSN 1860-0832Full text not available from this repository.
Synchronization is now well established as representing coherent behaviour between two or more otherwise autonomous nonlinear systems subject to some degree of coupling. Such behaviour has mainly been studied to date, however, in relatively low-dimensional discrete systems or networks. But the possibility of similar kinds of behaviour in continuous or extended spatiotemporal systems has many potential practical implications, especially in various areas of geophysics. We review here a range of cyclically varying phenomena within the Earth's climate system for which there may be some evidence or indication of the possibility of synchronized behaviour, albeit perhaps imperfect or highly intermittent. The exploitation of this approach is still at a relatively early stage within climate science and dynamics, in which the climate system is regarded as a hierarchy of many coupled sub-systems with complex nonlinear feedbacks and forcings. The possibility of synchronization between climate oscillations (global or local) and a predictable external forcing raises important questions of how models of such phenomena can be validated and verified, since the resulting response may be relatively insensitive to the details of the model being synchronized. The use of laboratory analogues may therefore have an important role to play in the study of natural systems that can only be observed and for which controlled experiments are impossible. We go on to demonstrate that synchronization can be observed in the laboratory, even in weakly coupled fluid dynamical systems that may serve as direct analogues of the behaviour of major components of the Earth's climate system. The potential implications and observability of these effects in the long-term climate variability of the Earth is further discussed. © 2010 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
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