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  A mathematical term for relationships between variables which show no order, with oscillations displaying periodicity in neither their frequency nor their amplitude (see figure (c) under bifurcation). Empirical and theoretical studies are producing increasing evidence of chaotic relationships (cf. catastrophe theory), which makes forecasting and prediction of future system states extremely difficult. Within geography this is particularly the case in modelling aspects of the physical environment and its changes, such as climate, which is creating substantial difficulties in developing strategies to cope with the assumed impacts of, for example, global warming. (RJJ)

Suggested Reading Gleick, J. 1988: Chaos: making a new science. London: Cardinal Books.



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