Reading: Chaos Theory and Global Warming

brown and white factory building during night time
Photo by Loïc Manegarium on

A reading titled ‘Chaos in the Atmosphere’ by Spencer Weart hosted on the website of Center for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics. This reading is a supplement to Spencer Weart’s book titled, ‘The Discovery of Global Warming’, that explains complex models about weather prediction and chaos theory. 

Students will learn about chaos theory with respect to the Earth’s atmosphere and climate system. They will also learn how chaos theory is used to make predictions and calculations for climate change.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. What is chaos theory?
  2. What makes climate calculation difficult to predict?
  3. How can small changes lead to catastrophic climate impact?

About the Tool

Tool NameChaos in the Atmosphere
DisciplinePhysics, Earth Sciences
Topic(s) in DisciplineChaos Theory, Climate Models, Atmospheric Physics, Weather Prediction
Climate TopicPlanetary Climate; Planetary Energy Balance
Type of toolReading
Grade LevelHigh School, Undergraduate
Developed bySpencer Weart
Hosted atCenter for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics
AccessOnline/ Offline
Computer SkillsBasic