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The importance of timescales for the emergence of environmental self-regulation

Record type: Article

Models which explore the possibilities of emergent self-regulation in the Earth system often assume the timescales associated with changes in various sub-systems to be predetermined. Given their importance in guiding the fixed point dynamics of such models, relatively little formalism has been established. We analyse a classic model of environmental self-regulation, Daisyworld, and interpret the original equations for model temperature, changes in insolation, and self-organisation of the biota as an important separation of timescales. This allows a simple analytical solution where the model is reduced to two states while retaining important characteristics of the original model. We explore the consequences of relaxing some key assumptions. We show that increasing the rate of change of insolation relative to adaptation of the biota shows a sharp transition between regulating, and lifeless states. Additionally, in slowing the rate of model temperature change relative to the adapting biota we derive expressions for the damping rate of fluctuations, along with a threshold beyond which damped oscillations occur. We relax the assumption that seeding occurs globally by extending this analysis to solve a two-dimensional cellular automata Daisyworld. We conclude by reviewing a number of previous Daisyworld models and make explicit their respective timescales, and how their behaviour can be understood in light of our analysis

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Weaver, Iain S. and Dyke, James G. (2012) The importance of timescales for the emergence of environmental self-regulation Journal of Theoretical Biology, 313, pp. 172-180. (doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2012.07.034). (PMID:22902427).

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Published date: 21 November 2012
Organisations: Agents, Interactions & Complexity


Local EPrints ID: 342026
ISSN: 0022-5193
PURE UUID: 3b549446-0223-4721-8138-d935b1c6b6bb
ORCID for James G. Dyke: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 09 Aug 2012 18:11
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 05:31

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Author: Iain S. Weaver
Author: James G. Dyke ORCID iD

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