This means that the steady rate and steady state of systems as described by uniformitarianism are incorrect. Uniformitarianism views systems as Newtonian, in which magnitude/frequency relationships follow a normal (Gaussian) distribution, and where there are proportional scaling relationships between forcing and response. Such systems are therefore characterised http://www.selleckchem.com/products/Neratinib(HKI-272).html by high predictability. However, both climate and geomorphological systems are now known to exhibit non-Newtonian behaviour including fractal magnitude/frequency scaling relations, nonlinear forcing–response relationships, and time-evolving (emergent) behaviour (Harrison, 2001, Stephenson
et al., 2004, Hooke, 2007, Turcotte, 2007 and Ashwin et al., 2012). Such systems often yield outcomes of forcings that plot in certain locations within phase space. These locations, termed strange attractors, are a mimic of system equilibrium, Selleck Olaparib thus they appear to reflect Newtonian behaviour consistent with the basis of uniformitarianism, but actually reflect the persistence of nonlinear systems. Nonlinear systems also experience bifurcations, in which a critical
threshold is reached and crossed, at which point the system jumps from one quasi-stable state to another (Held and Kleinen, 2004, Ashwin et al., 2012 and Cimatoribus et al., 2013). This means that such systems exhibit low predictability. As uniformitarianism does not consider the existence of this type of system, it cannot therefore account for nonlinear and low-predictability system behaviour. Previous studies examining the Principle of Uniformitarianism have argued that it can no longer Adenosine be applied to studies in geography and geology because it is not unique to these disciplines; it acts to constrain our interpretation of the past;
and it is based on unfounded assumptions of the dynamics of physical processes and land surface systems (e.g., Gould, 1965, Shea, 1982, Camardi, 1999 and Oldroyd and Grapes, 2008). Through examining the relationship between uniformitarian principles and the nature of climate and environmental changes that characterise the Anthropocene, we can now argue that there are two further reasons to reject uniformitarianism, in addition to those listed above. First, it does not account for the dominant role of human activity in substantially changing the behaviour of all Earth systems, and the significant and very rapid rates of change under anthropogenic climate forcing. Second, it cannot account for the properties and dynamics of all systems that are now known to be characterised by nonlinear feedbacks, time lags and other systems properties; spatial and temporal variability of these properties; and where climate and Earth system feedbacks are amplified. However, many geologists still use ‘weak’ uniformitarian principles in the interpretation of late Holocene climate change.