Discourse: Earth System Analysis — The Scope of the Challenge

  • H. J. Schellnhuber

Abstract

Imagination is indispensable to scientific achievement, even more so to the emerging field of “Earth System Analysis” (Esa). Imagine ... that astronomers were warning us of a huge asteroid heading towards our planet. The collision was supposed to occur in some twenty years from now, but neither the date of the impact nor its site could be predicted with satisfactory precision at this point in time. From the already available approximate knowledge of the celestial maverick’s mass and orbital parameters it could be inferred, however, that the collision energy would correspond to an explosion of at least 10 gigatons of Tnt.

List of Frequently Used Mathematical Symbols

A

Anthroposphere

A

Macro-state of the Anthroposphere A

𝕭

Bundle of Paths

B

Global Brain

C

Coevolution Space

C

Class of paths (C[S])

𝕮 (P1P2)

Geo-cybernetic Corridor from P1 to P2

D,K,R,r,S,s

Domains and Subdomains

ε

Overall Earth System

Γ

Manifold (Separating Domains in C)

H

Human Factor

L

Lagrange Function

M, M* M**

Pool of Control Options

M, M̃, M*,...

Management Sequences (M ∈ M)

M

Executive (Management) Component of Global Subject

N

Ecosphere (Nature)

N

Macro-state of the Ecosphere N

Pi

Paradigm

P(...)

Path in C

P

Point in Coevolution Space (P ∈ C)

Π

Trajectory in C

Q

Scalar Quality Functional

S

Global Subject

S

Generalized Equilibrium

t, τ

Time

u

Accessible Universe in C

𝑣

Value System of Global Subject

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