"Fractal forecasting"

3892767597_695b18351b_b With help from an orbiting meteorological spacecraft, scientists have found a atmospheric patterns that can be broken down into a series of cascading events, each of which in turn spawn smaller processes that follow "scale-by-scale simplicity."

If they are right, behind towering complexity lurks mathematical beauty.

Like some plants whose fronds contain ever smaller versions of the same overall leaf on a plane, atmospheric processes may unfold to reveal the the same process being repeated on smaller and smaller scales in three dimensions.

The result, according the article "Tomorrow's Weather, Cloudy with a Chance of Fractals," could be a dramatic improvement in very local forecasts and provide a valuable check on climate models.