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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2019-52
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2019-52
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: esd ideas 01 Oct 2019

Submitted as: esd ideas | 01 Oct 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).

ESD Ideas: Structures dominate the functioning of Earth systems, but their dynamics are not well represented

Axel Kleidon1, Erwin Zehe1, and Ralf Loritz2 Axel Kleidon et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institut für Biogeochemie, Jena, Germany
  • 2Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute of Water and River Basin Management, Karlsruhe, Germany

Abstract. Many fluxes in Earth systems are not homogeneously distributed across space, but occur highly concentrated in structures, such as turbulent eddies, river networks, vascular networks of plants, or human-made infrastructures. Yet, the highly-organized nature of these fluxes is typically only described at a rudimentary level, if at all. We propose that it requires a novel approach to describe these structures that focuses on the work done to build and maintain these structures, and the feedbacks that they cause on a system’s ability to perform work, which requires placing these structures into their environmental Earth system context.

Axel Kleidon et al.
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Status: open (until 10 Dec 2019)
Status: open (until 10 Dec 2019)
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Axel Kleidon et al.
Axel Kleidon et al.
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Short summary
Many fluxes in Earth systems are not homogeneously distributed across space, but occur highly concentrated in structures, such as turbulent eddies, river networks, vascular networks of plants, or human-made infrastructures. Yet, the highly-organized nature of these fluxes is typically only described at a rudimentary level, if at all. We propose that it requires a novel approach to describe these structures that focuses on the work done to build and maintain these structures, and the feedbacks.
Many fluxes in Earth systems are not homogeneously distributed across space, but occur highly...
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