ECONS - WGL PAKT Initiative - Evolving Complex Networks
Regional resource management under environmental and demographic change


European Physical Journal Special Topics, 174, 1–9 (2009) DOI:10.1140/epjst/e2009-01086-6

Understanding the Earth as a complex system - recent advances in data analysis and modelling in Earth sciences

R. Donner, S. Barbosa, J. Kurths, N. Marwan

This topical issue collects contributions exemplifying the recent scientific progress in the development and application of data analysis methods and conceptual modelling for understanding the dynamics of the Earth as a complex dynamical system. The individual papers focus on different questions of present-day interest in Earth sciences and sustainability, which are often of paramount importance for mankind (recent and future climate change, occurrence of natural hazards, etc.). This editorial shall motivate the link between the different contributions from both topical and methodological perspectives. The holistic view on the Earth as a complex system is important for identifying mutual links between the individual subsystems and hence for improving the physical understanding of how these components interact with each other on various temporal as well as spatial scales and how the corresponding interactions determine the dynamics of the full system.