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Society as a Complex System Seeking a Safe and Just Operating Space for Humanity
CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere
The concept of planetary boundaries around a safe operating space for humanity in the coming century has proved a useful framing of the problems of global sustainability. Originally defined in terms of the biophysical state of the planet, where a safe operating space is taken as the late Holocene climate, the concept has been extended to a safe and just operating space by defining some essential social attributes and freedoms that bound an acceptable society, for example through the UN’s sustainable development goals. The problem we face is that the processes that define biophysical and societal ‘safety’ are deeply interconnected and should be understood as attributes of a single complex system.
In this talk we first discuss the key attributes of complex systems-emergence and self organisation-as they apply to simple systems and then to the human-earth system, defined as the intersection of the biophysical world and human society. We contrast the pre- and post-industrial world and show how a strong attractor controlled the relationship between population and per-capita wealth until the industrial revolution but that this changed fundamentally 200 years ago. We go on to construct a conceptual dynamical systems model of the post-industrial world, highlighting the links and feedbacks between population, economy, societal state and our impact on the biosphere. This model highlights the key role played by urbanisation and inequality in societal transformation. Finally, we ask what this model can tell us about the current trajectory of the human-earth system and whether a safe and just operating space is an attractor for the system.
Thursday, 23 February, 2017, 3:30 PM
Refreshments 3:15 PM
3450 Mitchell Lanem Bldg. 2, Main Auditorium, Room 1022
Recent results of our collaborative Russian-American efforts on how a notion of helicity can be applied in the atmospheric research to tropical cyclone (TC) investigations will be presented. Briefly recalling the role of helical turbulence in the formation of large-scale structures in magnetohydrodynamics and general dynamics of non-conducting fluids, we make an accent on the existence of threshold for large-scale instabilities in all cases. To bring together the notion of helicity and TC formation, we emphasize one of the very first achievements obtained by near-cloud-resolving numerical simulation of tropical cyclogenesis. This is the discovery of vortical nature of atmospheric moist convection in the tropical zone – rotating cumulonimbus clouds, which were dubbed ‘Vortical Hot Towers (VHTs)’ – and their crucial role in TC formation (Hendricks et al., 2004; Montgomery et al. 2006). As it was noted by Molinari and Vollaro (2010), “VHTs are helical by definition because they contain coincident updrafts and vertical vorticity”.
For the first time in TC research, we highlight the inherently helical tropical cyclogenesis. This implies the role of a special topology of the newly forming mesoscale vortex and the contribution of motions of cloud scales – VHTs – to provide such topology. Our works of 2010-2016 examine helical self-organization of moist convective atmospheric turbulence during TC formation and offer a way to solution of one of the most intricate enigmas of meteorology on tropical cyclogenesis by diagnosing a time when cyclogenesis commences as well as allow to consider an idea on controlling the formation of hurricanes at the very early stage of their evolution.
Friday, March 3, 2017, 11:00 AM
Refreshments 10:45 AM
3450 Mitchell Lane
Bldg. 2, Main Auditorium, Room 1022
The 5th annual workshop of Rising Voices: Collaborative Science with Indigenous Knowledge for Climate Solutions will be held at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado from 13-15 April, 2017. The workshop will be convened in partnership with Cultural Survival (https://www.culturalsurvival.org/) and the International Indian Treaty Council.
The theme of the 5th Rising Voices workshop is “Pathways from Science to Action.” Through collaborative research presentations and group discussions we will develop specific pathways to move from science to action for climate adaptation at local, national, and international levels. Rising Voices seeks to diversify scientific research and inform culturally appropriate solutions to weather and climate extremes with a focus on Indigenous science. The fifth workshop will be an opportunity to address the climate change issues and solutions impacting Indigenous communities globally and to reflect on lessons learned and best practices gleaned from the first five years of Rising Voices. Workshop participants will address the key question: What are the collaborative pathways to create more diverse science and to move from science to action? Through new partnerships, Rising Voices 5 will contribute to the 16th meeting of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
This event is by invitation only. You can view the workshop by webcast.
The triennial IUFRO conference on the effect of wind and trees will take place at the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s (NCAR) Mesa Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, from 17 July to 21 July 2017
Call for Abstracts
This conference encourages scientists from all backgrounds with an interest in the interaction between wind and trees to present a paper. The broad theme of the conference targets understanding the interaction of the wind on trees at scales ranging from the leaf to entire forests and forested landscapes. We are interested in how trees adapt to wind, how they acclimate during their lives, and the physical mechanisms of wind damage. Presentations discussing the atmospheric processes producing damaging near-surface winds and climatological controls on their likelihood are also encouraged. We are keenly interested in the impact of forest disturbance on carbon budgets and ecosystem functioning in forests and management strategies to mitigate the impact of damage in all types of forestry.
The deadline for submitting an abstract is 17 February 2017.