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Structure and Operation of Systems, Models of the Global Earth System

  • Attila Kerényi
  • Richard William McIntosh
Chapter
Part of the Sustainable Development Goals Series book series (SDGS)

Abstract

This chapter gives the basis for systems thinking which approach is applied throughout the book. The term system, its general characteristics, structure and specifics together with the hierarchy of systems, the similarities and differences of mental and material systems are discussed plainly. The operation of systems is analysed in more detail: negative (stabilising) and positive (destabilising) feedbacks, behaviour of chaotic and adaptive systems on internal or external effects. The classification of environmental systems is also reviewed discussing abiotic, biotic (ecological) and human-made (artificial) systems. Topology of systems and the essence of network theory are presented. The types of system models and the most important general steps of model forming are given. Models simulating the operation of Earth as a planet are analysed in more detail: PREM model, new global geodynamic model, global climate simulation models, GAIA biosphere model, world models of Meadows, Mesarovic–Pestel world model, the social model of László. A simple (homomorphic) complex Earth model is presented and the issue of global threshold and planetary boundaries is discussed. Finally, it is proved that the basic working mechanisms of the global society (production, consumption, transport) inevitably result in environmental damage and risk for human health (basic problem of environmental protection), however, reducing these effects can be solved. Sustainable development means more: the operation of the global society has to be changed.

Keywords

Feedbacks Chaos theory Adaptive systems Environmental systems Network theory PREM model Global geodynamic model Climate simulation models GAIA model World models 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Attila Kerényi
    • 1
  • Richard William McIntosh
    • 2
  1. 1.Landscape Protection and Environmental GeographyUniversity of DebrecenDebrecenHungary
  2. 2.Mineralogy and GeologyUniversity of DebrecenDebrecenHungary

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