Chaos and The Weather

Chaos occurs when a system is very sensitive to initial conditions. Initial conditions are the values of measurements at a given starting time.

The weather is an example of a chaotic system. In order to make long-term weather forecasts it would be necessary to take an infinite number of measurements, which would be impossible to do. Also, because the atmosphere is chaotic, tiny uncertainties would eventually overwhelm any calculations and defeat the accuracy of the forecast. The presence of chaotic systems in nature seems to place a limit on our ability to apply deterministic physical laws to predict motions with any degree of certainty.