It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

The "Transfer Function" Of Earth

page: 1
0

log in

join
share:

posted on Oct, 13 2005 @ 08:19 AM
link   
So in physics and engineering there is this concept called a transfer function. This can be used to model things such as a spring-mass system. You give the system a little push, and it oscillates, but then it moves back to normal. Similar things can happen in an electrical system. Some disturbance occurs and there is oscillation or some other problematic effect, but the system feeds back into itself and settles down.

To me, it seems the earth is like this. When things happen, such as, say, a forest fire, the system is disturbed, but will eventually settle back to normal. As an aside, this is one thing that makes me believe in God or as others call it a "higher power," because most everything in life that man makes lacks the stability that natural systems have - many things seem to tend towards chaos and failure instead of stability. Even in severe disasters such as the Chernobyl catastrophe, life has come back, and the environment has been recovering. This shows just how well the system works to correct severe problems.

Anyways, my theory is that if enough environmental damage occurs, the system can potentially be affected in such a way that it fails to correct itself. This could be like filing down a big spring in a system. Eventually if you subject it to a powerful enough impulse, the spring will break and the system will fail to operate and come back to some equilibrium point.

So we're talking about making a transfer function for the entire planet Earth. The disturbance to the system is a combination of both natural and man-made actions. The earth acts as a transfer function that has feedback into itself to try and maintain a stable environmental state. However, it is entierly possible that the system can eventually become "overloaded" or pushed beyond a point where it can recover.

The thing is, too, that the earth doesn't operate on a nice 9 to 5 human time table. I fear that the effects of the inputs to the global system may take a very long time to make themselves known.

I think this may be a little bit similar to the Gaia hypothesis, that, IIRC, treats the entire planet as one massive organism. That does make some sence, since we now understand how complex the connections are between organisms in the biosphere.

[edit on 13-10-2005 by Toxic Fox]




posted on Oct, 13 2005 @ 08:46 AM
link   

Originally posted by Toxic Fox
So in physics and engineering there is this concept called a transfer function. This can be used to model things such as a spring-mass system. You give the system a little push, and it oscillates, but then it moves back to normal. Similar things can happen in an electrical system. Some disturbance occurs and there is oscillation or some other problematic effect, but the system feeds back into itself and settles down.
[edit on 13-10-2005 by Toxic Fox]


I think you are referring to a negative feedback system, where a system reacts in a way to negate the original change. I think its a quite good analogy for the Earth "system"
(a positive feedback system would amplify any changes)

My 2 cents is that I think the effect of man on the environment may be overestimated. I think that the Earth could withstand nearly any effect that humanity could throw at it, with the added bonus that most cataclysmic(sp?) events would result in the destruction of the origin of the effect (i.e. humans).



posted on Oct, 13 2005 @ 12:00 PM
link   
It seems there are two schools of thought here, really.

School 1: this is the Strong Earth school of thought that belives the environment is robust enough to recover from pratically anything humanity throws at it.

School 2: this is the Fragile Earth school of thought that belives that humans can permenantly damage the earth's ecosystems either through a series of specific events or long-term abuse.

I'm torn between these two ideas.



posted on Oct, 13 2005 @ 12:58 PM
link   
it seems to me that if you come from america or China the two greatest poluters then you supscribe to the strong earth theory, purely on the basis that the populus of these two countries dont care about the damage they are doing, on the other hand the rest of the world believe in the fragile earth system and actively work to overcome the damage being done by the other two.

[edit on 13-10-2005 by bobsa]



posted on Oct, 13 2005 @ 02:49 PM
link   
The planet does have negative feedback mechanisms. For example, when there is increased temperature, there is an increase in the weathering rates of rocks. The weathering of rocks take up atmospheric CO2, thus reducing any greenhouse effect and 'shutting down' a warming trend (a natural one anyway).

The amount of carbon that humans put into the atmosphere is miniscule, compared to the volume of the atmosphere. There is one theory about hot house stages, that is that they occur when there is an increased rate of tectonic expansion, ie lots of rifting and sea-floor spreading, but I am not sure of the volumes of gases invovled (wherein the increased subduction that coordinates with the expansion results in increased volcanism via the melting of the subducting plates and the release of their carbon as gas).



posted on Oct, 13 2005 @ 07:00 PM
link   

Originally posted by bobsa
it seems to me that if you come from america or China the two greatest poluters then you supscribe to the strong earth theory, purely on the basis that the populus of these two countries dont care about the damage they are doing, on the other hand the rest of the world believe in the fragile earth system and actively work to overcome the damage being done by the other two.

[edit on 13-10-2005 by bobsa]


Bobsa, I must applaud the broad generalization/stereotype you threw out there. Being an American, the world is my ashtray. Of course, there are no pollution problems in other industrial nations or other small nations throughout the world. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to pour some oil and antifreeze into a stream, and burn some plastic bottles.

(Me puts Bobsa on the "Ignore" list.)

[edit on 13-10-2005 by Toxic Fox]



posted on Oct, 14 2005 @ 07:26 AM
link   
I did not meen to generalise, however, its quite plain for anyone outside the US to see that :

A. George Bush's government does not beleive in global warming, or at least that humans have made a contribution the level of global warming.

B. America is the biggest producer of Carbon emmsions known to affect global warming, by biggest i mean almost 50% of the whole world emmisons come from the USA

Sources: CO2 Emissions
The Hadley Centre

The USA didn't sign upto Kyoto because the American economy was more important than the sustainability of the Earth for future generations. So in short Money before the planet !!!!



posted on Oct, 14 2005 @ 07:49 AM
link   
One update: I've spoken with the good Dr. H, a professor and friend of mine, about this. He takes a middle ground - there is pratically no way that we can destroy life, but we can severely damage ourselves and other organisms. Instead of the spring bounding back or snapping apart, the spring becomes permenantly warped or stretched out.



posted on Oct, 14 2005 @ 08:22 AM
link   
I would say that the Earth is very capable of correcting damage to the ecosystem caused by humans, but after we are gone. There are feedback mechanisms but if we don't allow them to occur, eventually it becomes more difficult for humans to survive and certainly not at the standard of living we are used to.

For example, when CO2 levels rise in the atmosphere, the plant life, which thrives with higher levels, will flourish and create more oxygen. Eventually equilibrium is reached and maintained. But if we don't let the plant life grow to make the correction, CO2 will continue to increase and warm the planet. The Earth becomes less hospitable to humans, and one way or another the numbers will dwindle. Then the Earth can take a lot more abuse than we can, and will eventually repair itself.

I think that damage to the ecosystem is inevitable, but we could take steps to slow the process.



posted on Oct, 14 2005 @ 08:46 AM
link   
Great stuff guys. Thank you all, and Toxic Fox.


Here's a related tidbit I filed, but haven't done anything with yet. If anyone here wants to write a quick news item - just u2u me and I won't.

Quakes Trigger Quakes


.



posted on Oct, 14 2005 @ 11:20 AM
link   
WHile the Earth survived the Chicxulub asteroid impact and life continued to flourish, the dinosaurs, alas, did not.

(although to be fair, there is considerable evidence that the age of dinosuars was gradually ending prior to the asteroid impact anyway).



posted on Oct, 14 2005 @ 05:34 PM
link   
Hey guys - I revisted the link I posted above - and decided to do a podcast about it:

GEEK ALERT: Quakes trigger Quakes


.



posted on Oct, 14 2005 @ 05:56 PM
link   
Thanks Crow I appreciate that.

Yeah, this stuff really is kinda neat when you think about it, how everything seems to fall back into equilibrium.



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 05:09 PM
link   

Originally posted by Toxic Fox
Thanks Crow I appreciate that.

Yeah, this stuff really is kinda neat when you think about it, how everything seems to fall back into equilibrium.



TF - Did you change your mind? ...Your lead post said:

"Anyways, my theory is that if enough environmental damage occurs, the system can potentially be affected in such a way that it fails to correct itself. This could be like filing down a big spring in a system. Eventually if you subject it to a powerful enough impulse, the spring will break and the system will fail to operate and come back to some equilibrium point."

I agree with you here - and think we need to pay attention before we break up our plantet...



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 05:22 PM
link   
Well, I meant to a certain extent, of course. Middle-of-the-road here.



posted on Oct, 16 2005 @ 05:33 AM
link   
In all honesty, I think the earth's ability to correct itself from environmental damage caused by man, is far greater than our ability to correct ourselves from what we are doing. We'll go down long before the earth does in my opinion.



posted on Oct, 16 2005 @ 05:53 AM
link   
Just a little side note

Australia produces the highest per capita CO2 emissions of any country

it isnt just the US and china that pollute



posted on Oct, 16 2005 @ 06:01 AM
link   

Australia produces the highest per capita CO2 emissions of any country


You know what they say about statistics, lies, lies and damned lies.

of course it produces more per capita. it has a tiny population compared to its land mass.

that has to be the most spurious comment i have ever seen, and not in anyway a defence !



posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 02:54 AM
link   

Originally posted by Relentless
In all honesty, I think the earth's ability to correct itself from environmental damage caused by man, is far greater than our ability to correct ourselves from what we are doing. We'll go down long before the earth does in my opinion.



In general - I do agree. But this is more about structural damage than environmental effects. Fact is, a lot of things are being done by industry that could/may impact the earth's structural stability.



new topics

top topics



 
0

log in

join