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If one could exist on climate scales would it make any more sense to measure laboratory-scale quantities to capture climate conditions than it does for us on the laboratory scale to compute wave functions to understand the weather? Clearly the quantum mechanical and the laboratory regime are constructed in terms of different physical variables. Why do we presume, then, that laboratory regime quantities like temperature continue to be the appropriate physical variables to measure in a climate regime? This paper suggests why we may not be measuring the right things and it will broach some alternatives in the context of a reformulation for relevant physics more natural to long timescales: slow time. Specifically it shows that fluctuating velocities can be “thermalized” in suitable averages suggesting that one might imagine climate in terms of a generalization of wind which may include persistent meteorological winds, or none at all. But it also shows that temperature cannot be “thermalized” on long time and space scales, making the notion of local equilibrium and simple generalizations of temperature problematic for climate.
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Essex, C. 2011. Climate theory versus a theory for climate. International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos in Applied Sciences and Engineering 21: 3477–3487. CrossRef
Essex, C. 2013. Does laboratory-scale physics obstruct the development of a theory for climate? Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres 118: 1218–1225. CrossRef
Essex, C., and B. Andresen. 2013. The principal equations of state for classical particles, photons, and neutrinos. Journal of Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics 38: 293–312. CrossRef
Essex, C., and B. Andresen. 2015. Maxwellian velocity distributions in slow time. Journal of Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics 40: 139–151. CrossRef
- Are We Measuring the Right Things for Climate?
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