Full Steam Ahead--Probably

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  07 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5608, pp. 837-838
DOI: 10.1126/science.1081280

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text


It has long been argued that complex systems like Earth's climate may be in a state of maximum entropy production. In such a state, the work output-or, crudely, the product of the heat flux and the temperature gradient driving it-is maximized. But, as Lorenz explains in his Perspective, no reason for why systems should choose this state has been known. He highlights a recent paper that shows how the maximum entropy production state can become the most probable state.