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TELLUS

ISSN 02806495

Self-sustained temperature oscillations on Daisyworld

By C. NEVISON1*, V. GUPTA2 and L. KLINGER1, 1National Center for Atmospheric Research,

PO Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000, USA; 2University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, USA

(Manuscript received 16 June 1998; in nal form 9 March 1999)

ABSTRACT

The daisyworld model of Watson and Lovelock demonstrated that a simple biological feedback

system involving coupling between black and white daisies and their physical environment can

stabilize planetary temperature over a wide range of solar luminosity. Here, we show that the

addition of a dierential equation for temperature to the original daisyworld model leads to

periodic oscillations in temperature about a homeostatic mean. These oscillations, in which the

model alternates between dominance by either black or white daisies, arise from the internal

dynamics of the system rather than from external forcing. An important criterion for the oscilla-

tions to occur is that solar luminosity be within the range in which both daisy species are

viable. A second important criterion is that the ratio of the timescales for daisy population

turnover and climate system thermal response be bounded. While internally driven oscillations

are well known in predatorprey biological models and in coupled ocean energy balance

cryosphere models, the present study shows that such oscillations also can arise in a model of

the biosphere coupled to its physical environment. The potential signicance of this result to

planet Earth and the science of geophysiology is discussed.

1. Introduction perature in turn controls the growth rate of

the daisies, which completes the feedback loop

The fundamental ro le of the biota in planetary between the daisies and their environment. Self-

climate has been articulated by the emerging regulation of planetary temperature emerges nat-

new science of geophysiology (Lovelock, 1995). urally from this coupled biologicalphysical

Geophysiology is predicated on the idea that the system, without planning or foresight on the part

dynamics of life on Earth is tightly coupled to the of the daisies. In this sense, the daisyworld model

dynamics of the soil, rocks, ocean, and atmosphere,

oers insight potentially relevant to Earth into

and that this coupling results in the self-regulation

the nature of coupling between life and climate

of the planetary climate. To mathematically illus-

(Watson and Lovelock, 1983; Lovelock, 1995).

trate this idea, Watson and Lovelock (1983)

Simple nonlinear mathematical models have

developed the famous daisyworld model.

long been used for understanding the qualitative

Daisyworld is a ctitious planet inhabited by

features of complex natural systems like Earths

black and white daisies whose albedos are

climate (Budyko, 1969; Sellers, 1969). Some well-

lower and higher, respectively than the albedo of

known examples are the simple coupled energy

bare ground. The relative populations of the two

balancecryosphere models developed to study

daisy types regulate the mean planetary albedo,

Earths paleoclimatic variability (Ghil and

which plays a key ro le in the radiation balance

Childress, 1987). Qualitative understanding

that determines planetary temperature. Tem-

obtained through analyzing simple models pro-

vides guidance for interpreting results of much

* Corresponding author. more complex models such as general circulation

Tellus 51B (1999), 4

n:isxvoin 807

models (GCMs) (Gal-Chen and Schneider, 1976), S (erg cm2 yr1) is the present-day constant ux

of solar radiation reaching the planet = and for identifying observational needs and new

research directions. 2.891013, s (erg cm2 yr1 K4) is Stefans con-

stant for blackbody radiation =1789, T

e

(K) is The simple nonlinear Earth models described

above often include an ordinary dierential equa- the eective temperature at which the planet radi-

ates like a black body. tion (ODE) for temperature which describes the

planetary radiative energy balance. Earth is well The greenhouse eect can be easily introduced

into eq. (2) through a term expressing deviation known to be in imperfect balance, both spatially

and temporally, between incoming solar and out- from the blackbody radiation (Ghil and Childress,

1987, p. 303). For the present, we will ignore this going longwave radiation (Peixoto and Oort, 1992).

In contrast, planetary temperature in the original type of renement.

The remaining equations describing the growth daisyworld model is calculated by constraining

incoming and outgoing radiation to be in exact of the black and white daisies are identical to

those used in the original model, as summarized balance. As a rst step toward modifying daisyworld

to more realistically resemble Earth, a simple ODE below.

for temperature can be introduced into the original

da

b

/dt=a

b

(xbc), (3)

model. This modication adds one new parameter,

da

w

/dt=a

w

(xbc), (4)

a climatic heat capacity or thermal response time.

In this paper, we examine the results of the

x=pa

b

a

w

, (5)

daisyworld model when it is modied such that the

A=xA

gf

+(1p)A

s

+a

b

A

b

+a

w

A

w

, (6)

planet is no longer constrained to be in perfect

radiative equilibrium. We discuss the signicance of

b=10.003265(T

opt

T

l,i

)2, (7)

our results to geophysiology in much the same spirit

T

l,i

=q(AA

i

)+T

e

, (8)

as Watson and Lovelock (1983), who presented the

original daisyworld model as a parable with possible where a

b

(unitless) is the fraction of total planetary

area covered by black daisies, a

w

(unitless) is the implications for Earth.

fraction of total planetary area covered by white

daisies, A

b

(unitless) is the albedo of black daisies =

0.25, A

gf

(unitless) is the albedo of fertile bare 2. Model description

ground =0.5, A

s

(unitless) is the albedo of nonfertile

areas =0.5, A

w

(unitless) is the albedo of white The model presented here is similar to the

original daisyworld model of Watson and daisies =0.75, b (yr1) is the growth rate of the

daisies, c (yr1) is the death rate of the daisies Lovelock (1983), with one fundamental modica-

tion to the equation describing the balance (generally set to 0.3 in the original model ), p (unit-

less) is the fraction of total planetary area that is between incoming solar radiation and outgoing

longwave radiation. Whereas Watson and potentially fertile =1, q (K) is the conduction

coecient of solar energy among dierent surface Lovelock assumed an exact balance between these

two uxes, types =20, T

l,i

(K) is the local temperature which

determines the growth rate of each species i of daisy,

SL (1A) =sT 4

e

, (1)

T

opt

(K) is the optimal growth temperature T

l,i

,

assumed to be 295.5 K (22.5C) for both daisies, we have replaced eq. (1) with an ODE for the

eective planetary temperature T

e

, which allows x (unitless) is the fraction of total planetary area

that is potentially fertile but not covered by daisies. that T

e

is not necessarily at steady state. The ODE

can be written as, Eq. (7) assumes that the daisy growth rate b is

maximum when the local daisy temperature T

l,i

is

c

p

(dT

e

/dt) =SL (1A) sT 4

e

, (2)

equal to T

opt

and that b is 0 when T

l,i

278 K

(5C) or T

l,i

313 K (40C). Eq. (8) assumes that where A (unitless) is the average planetary albedo,

c

p

(erg cm2 K1) is a measure of the mean heat the local temperature for black daisies T

l,b

is

somewhat warmer than the eective planetary capacity or thermal inertia of the planet,

L (unitless) is a dimensionless measure of the temperature T

e

, while the local temperature for

white daisies T

l,w

is somewhat colder than T

e

. luminosity of the sun relative to the present day,

Tellus 51B (1999), 4

c. NrvisoN r1 :i. 808

Eectively, this equation serves as a parameteriz- ward in time at a xed solar luminosity L until

equilibrium temperature and daisy populations ation of dynamical heat transfer. Note that in the

daisyworld model, dynamics is parameterized as were established. The value of L was incremented

and the procedure was repeated until a new steady a secondary eect while the biota is featured as a

rst order eect. For simplicity, we have not state was achieved. The daisy area fractions were

initialized at the larger of 0.01 or the steady state modied eq. (8) to account for temporal disequi-

libria between T

l,i

and T

e

. values at the previous value of L . Fig. 1a,b show

that planetary temperature is eectively stabilized Before presenting results of the modied model,

we briey review in Fig. 1, the results of the at a value close to the optimal growth temperature

of the daisies (22.5) over a wide range of solar original daisyworld model of Watson and

Lovelock (1983). Their model was integrated for- luminosity (~0.75<L <1.6) due to adjustments

Fig. 1. Results from the original daisyworld model (using eq. ( 1)) with c=0.3. (a) Stabilization of temperature over

range of solar luminosity L . The dotted line shows planetary temperature without life, i.e., at a constant albedo of

A=0.5. ( b) Steady state black and white daisy populations over range of solar luminosity L . (c) Achievement of

steady state temperature at L =1. (d) Achievement of steady state daisy populations at L =1.

Tellus 51B (1999), 4

n:isxvoin 809

in the relative areas of black and white daisies. produces self-sustained temperature oscillations

Fig. 1c,d show that at a given value of L , both T

e

which are closely coupled to oscillations in the

and the daisy populations achieve steady state populations of black and white daisies (Fig. 2a).

fairly rapidly. Note that time in the original Unlike the original model, in which the daisies

daisyworld model using eq. (1) is expressed in

achieved stable equilibrium populations at a given

terms of daisy generations and otherwise need not

solar luminosity, the modied daisyworld model

be specied. When eq. (2) is used, time takes on

alternates between strong dominance by one

the specic units of the terms S and s. In the next

species and then the other, with relatively short

section, in which we present results from the

periods in between in which both daisies have

modied daisyworld model, we have used time

comparable populations. At the solar luminosity

units of years unless otherwise specied.

shown in Fig. 2a (L =1), white daisies dominate

over a somewhat longer period than black daisies,

with the extremes of temperature occurring during 3. Results

the changeover interval. Eq. (8) is critical to the

establishment of the oscillations because it yields The main new result of the modied daisyworld

model is that, under certain conditions, the model a warmer local temperature T

l,b

for black daisies

Fig. 2. Oscillations in T

e

, a

b

, and a

w

predicted by the modied daisyworld model (using eq. (2)) with c=0.3. (a) Warm

sun conditions, L =1.0, c

p

=31013. ( b) T

e

and the local daisy temperatures T

l,b

and T

l,w

under warm sun conditions.

Tellus 51B (1999), 4

c. NrvisoN r1 :i. 810

and a colder local temperature T

l,w

for white mately 0.8<L <1.2, with some variation with the

parameters c

p

and c. Outside these limits, the daisies compared to T

e

(Fig. 2b). As T

e

cools to

below T

opt

, the white daisy growth rate slows modied model predicts steady state, non-oscillat-

ory temperatures and daisy populations similar to down while the black daisy growth rate is near

optimum. An abrupt warming occurs as black those of the original model. At the periphery of

the limits, e.g., L =1.25, damped oscillations can daisies proliferate and white daisies die o.

However, as T

e

becomes increasingly warmer than occur. The relative sizes of the original steady

state daisy populations in Fig. 1b are useful for T

opt

, the black daisy growth rate slows down while

white daisies stage a comeback. This results in a predicting which daisy species will dominate the

oscillatory periods in the modied model. At L = gradual cooling of the planet until the whole cycle

repeats again. 0.8 (cool-sun conditions), in contrast to Fig. 2a,

black daisies dominate for longer periods than Two important criteria must be met for the

oscillations described in Fig. 2 to occur. First, white daisies and the temperature oscillations are

characterized by an abrupt cooling and a more solar luminosity L must be such that both daisies

in the original model have viable, not widely gradual warming.

The second criterion for free oscillations to disparate populations. Fig. 1b provides a useful

guide to the range of L in which oscillations can occur is that the thermal response time t

clim

of the

daisyworld climate must be within a certain order be expected based on this rst criterion.

Numerically, we nd that this range is approxi- of magnitude of the timescale for the turnover of

the daisy populations. Here, we have assumed that

t

clim

is proportional to the value of the heat

capacity c

p

, based on Harvey and Schneiders

(1984) work with a simple Earth model, and that

daisy turnover is proportional to 1/c, the inverse

of the daisies death rate. Fig. 3 presents model

results using a time unit of 0.001 years and a xed

value of c

p

=31013, which corresponds to

t

clim

~500 years on Earth (Harvey and Schneider,

1984). The three curves in Fig. 3, which represent

dierent values of 1/c spanning 4 orders of magni-

tude, show a range of behavior depending on the

relative magnitudes of 1/c and c

p

. When 1/c~4

months, free oscillations occur as described above.

When 1/c~30 years, oscillations occur initially,

but are damped to a steady state solution. The

climate appears to adjust quickly enough in this

case that the balance between incoming and out-

going radiation is near zero, similar to the original

model of Watson and Lovelock. In the third case,

when 1/c~1 day, an interesting phenomenon

occurs. As T

e

warms during the period of black

daisy dominance, T

l,b

increases to and persists at

a point at which a

b

reaches a value smaller than

Fig. 3. Oscillations in T

e

at L =1 and c

p

=31013,

the computer can resolve numerically. We have

which yields a thermal response time t

clim

of ~500 years.

The three curves show a range of 1/c, spanning 4 orders interpreted this to mean extinction of black daisies.

of magnitude. At 1/c~4 months, self-sustained oscilla-

Whereas for larger values of 1/c the temperature

tions occur. At 1/c~30 years, oscillations are damped

begins to cool before the black daisies die o

to a steady state. At 1/c~1 day, temperature changes

completely, in the 1/c~1 day case the relative

slowly, leading to the extermination of black daisies as

thermal response time is so slow that they are

warm temperatures persist too long. Surviving white

driven to extinction. Meanwhile, the surviving

daisies cool the planet to 13C, where T

e

and a

w

become

trapped at xed values. white daisies eventually cool the planet to 13,

Tellus 51B (1999), 4

n:isxvoin 811

Fig. 4. Sensitivity of the oscillation period to the heat

capacity c

p

. The period generally increases by a factor

of 10 with ten-fold increase in c

p

.

beyond which point further cooling would jeop-

Fig. 5. Stabilization of mean planetary temperature over

ardize their survival. Black daisies no longer exist

range of solar luminosity L at c

p

=31013, c=0.3. The

to lower planetary albedo, and daisyworld remains

maximum and minimum temperatures shown reect the

amplitude of the temperature oscillations. All averages, trapped at an uncomfortably cold temperature.

maxima, and minima are computed over a 1000 year

Provided the criterion described above is met,

period after rst initializing the model for 1200 years.

that is, 1/c remains bounded relative to c

p

, modi-

The dotted line shows temperature without life, i.e., at a

cations to the period of the self-sustained temper-

constant value of A=0.5.

ature oscillations can be achieved by varying c

p

.

An increase in c

p

by a factor of 10 results in a

tenfold increase in the oscillation period ( Fig. 4). sustained oscillations in the three prognostic

variables a

b

, a

w

, and T

e

. The daisyworld results A nal key result of the modied daisyworld

model is the maintenance of homeostasis of the provide a unique demonstration that internally

driven oscillations can arise in a coupled physical mean planetary temperature over a wide range of

solar luminosity (Fig. 5). Although the amplitude biological system, with the caveat that they occur

on a highly simplied planet. These results naturally of the self-sustained temperature oscillations is

large (~20C), the mean value of T

e

still falls close prompt the question of whether such oscillations

might occur in the real world. To explore this to T

opt

. Thus the fundamental result of the original

daisyworld model is preserved in a mean climatic question, we will consider the daisyworld results

in the context of various real-world oscillations sense. Fig. 5 is similar in some ways to Fig. 1 of

Jascourt and Raymond (1992), who rebutted the observed on Earth and of attempts to simulate

these oscillations using simple intrinsic models. claim by Zeng et al. (1990) that the occurrence of

chaos in a discrete version of daisyworld contra- Real-world oscillations are well documented in

both biological and climatic records. Commonly dicts homeostasis. Among the other reasons stated

in their rebuttal, Jascourt and Raymond showed observed oscillations in biology include predator

and prey populations which vary with the same that the long-term means of the chaotic temper-

ature states predicted by Zeng et al. still exhibit period but are somewhat out of phase. Such

oscillations have been reproduced reasonably well homeostasis.

by the LotkaVolterra model (Goel et al., 1971).

Although qualitatively dierent from the feedback-

stabilized daisyworld model, the LotkaVolterra 4. Discussion

model, a simple open-loop system of two coupled

ODEs describing the internal dynamics of inter- The most striking new feature of the modied

daisyworld model is the establishment of self- acting species, also gives rise to limit cycles. In

Tellus 51B (1999), 4

c. NrvisoN r1 :i. 812

addition to such purely biological oscillations, ively, are comparable, internally forced EBCMs

can generate self-sustained temperature oscilla- many real-world oscillations have been observed

tions of the correct amplitude (~10C) but of in Earths climate record over a wide range of

distinctly shorter period (~104 years) than timescales. One well-known example is the El

observed in Earths climate record (Kallen et al., Nin oSouthern Oscillation (ENSO) with a period-

1979; Ghil and Le Treut, 1981). The essential icity of about 25 years. The ENSO has been

problem is that the thermal response time of

modeled fairly successfully as an internal oscilla-

Earths climate system, dominated by the ocean,

tion of the coupled physical atmosphereocean

is too short to reproduce internally forced oscilla-

mixed layer system (Suarez and Schopf, 1988;

tions on timescales of 105 years (Ghil, 1981). This

Battisti and Hirst, 1989; Penland and

is true even if the ocean is treated as a deep

Sardeshmukh, 1995), although some studies have

isothermal reservoir, and the problem is exacer-

suggested that processes over continental land

bated if c

p

is assumed to be governed by the

masses also should be considered (Barnett et al.,

relatively shallow ocean mixed layer. The mixed

1988). Additional examples of climatic oscillations

layer assumption in fact can damp out internal

include the recently discovered millenial-scale

oscillations altogether, since the timescales of the

oscillation in northern hemisphere temperature (of

climate and the ice sheets become too disparate

amplitude ~2C) (Keigwin, 1996; Bond et al.,

(Harvey and Schneider, 1984).

1997) and Earths ice age or glaciation cycles, with

Both the EBCM and daisyworld results demon-

a dominant periodicity of 100,000 years and ampli-

strate the importance of the climatic heat capacity

tude of ~10C.

c

p

. On Earth, c

p

depends on the relatively inexible

Earths glaciation cycles are commonly attrib-

properties of specic heat and density of water,

uted to externally forced Milankovitch variations,

and on the characteristic depth D of the ocean

i.e., small changes in Earths orbital parameters.

volume assumed to dominate Earths thermal

However, climate models driven by Milankovitch

response. D has been estimated to range from the

forcings have had diculty accurately reproducing

relatively shallow mixed layer (<100 m) to the

the observed cycles, particularly the dominant

deep ocean (>3000 m), which leads to some uncer-

100 000 year peak (Ghil and Le Treut, 1981;

tainty in the appropriate value of c

p

(Harvey and

Pollard, 1982). The shortcomings of externally

Schneider, 1984). In addition, c

p

is quite dierent

forced models have led to eorts to explain Earths

for an ocean-dominated planet than a terrestrial

glaciation cycles through the internal dynamics

planet and is also temperature sensitive

of coupled energy balancecryosphere models

(Thompson and Schneider, 1979). The value of

(EBCMS).

c

p

=31013 that we have used in most of our

EBCMs are of particular interest to our discus-

calculations is appropriate for a planet like Earth,

sion since they resemble the modied daisyworld

assuming the climatic heat capacity is dominated

model in several important ways. EBCMs gener-

by a deep ocean. In theory, an entirely terrestrial

ally include two or more ODEs of the following

planet like daisyworld would have a much smaller

form (Kallen et al., 1979; Ghil and Le Treut, 1981;

heat capacity. To justify using such a large value

Ghil and Childress, 1987):

of c

p

in our daisyworld model, reducing the para-

meter p (fraction of potentially fertile ground)

c

p

dT

e

/dt=f (T

e

, A(I)), (9)

from 1.0 to a more Earth-like value of 0.3 might

seem appropriate, since it would allow that the

c

I

dI/dt=f (T

e

, I) . (10)

remaining 70% of the planet be covered by a deep

Eq. (9) is analogous to eq. (2) in the modied

ocean. However, in the current model formulation

daisyworld model, except that planetary albedo A

this would imply that life has no control over

is now a function of a purely physical variable I,

ocean albedo. Such an assumption would be incor-

the equatorward extent of the northern hemi-

rect, since ocean algae have been shown to inu-

sphere ice sheet. The growth in the ice sheet in ence cloudiness and thus albedo by producing

turn is a function of I and temperature, and has precursors for cloud condensation nuclei (CCN)

a characteristic relaxation time governed by c

I

. (Falkowski et al., 1992). A more complete treat-

When the timescales of the ice sheets and Earths ment of this question is beyond the scope of the

present study, and the discussion above suggests climate system, represented by c

I

and c

p

, respect-

Tellus 51B (1999), 4

n:isxvoin 813

the need for a coupled hydrological cycle in the Interestingly, Watson and Lovelock (1983) did

not interpret the results of the original daisyworld daisyworld model.

The EBCM and daisyworld results also demon- model literally in terms of the biotas eect on

surface albedo. Rather, they emphasized the ro le strate the importance of the comparability of

characteristic ODE timescales. In Fig. 3, we of the biota in regulating atmospheric CO

2

, a

greenhouse gas which is believed to have been a assumed that c

p

and 1/c were proportional to the

timescales for climate and daisies, respectively. dominant inuence determining Earths mean

temperature over geologic time (Walker et al., Although not directly analogous to c

I

in EBCMs,

1/c provides some measure of the timescale associ- 1981). Lovelock and Kump (1994) explored the

idea of biota-CO

2

feedbacks in a simple geophysi- ated with changes in the areal coverage of daisies,

or of the ecosystems they might represent in a ological model, which also included a parameteriz-

ation of CCN production by ocean algae. Their geophysiological interpretation. Assuming a likely

range of c

p

on Earth and allowing some exibility model predicted stabilizing negative feedbacks

between life and climate under glacial conditions. in the timescale for ecological shifts, we estimate

that the periodicity of a hypothetical real-world However, these feedbacks broke down under

warmer conditions, leading Lovelock and Kump internal oscillation arising from a coupled phys-

icalbiological mechanism would fall in the range to propose that other climate-regulating mechan-

isms must operate in the warm regime. This result, of a few years to a few thousand years. Such a

periodicity is too short to explain Earths glaci- together with our results and discussion, points to

the idea that the hydrological cycle may provide ation cycles, but possibly could contribute, at least

on the basis of timescale considerations, to shorter- the additional feedbacks needed for understanding

Earths climate variability. Water in its various periodicity phenomena such as the ENSO or the

northern hemisphere millenial oscillation. phases is critical in determining both surface (ice,

snow) and atmospheric (clouds) albedo, and liquid Clearly one must use caution in attempting to

attribute oscillations observed on Earth to the water (ocean) predominantly determines Earths

climatic heat capacity. Furthermore, atmospheric type of feedback mechanism described for the

ctitious daisyworld. However, a literal interpreta- water vapor is even more important than CO

2

in

determining Earths greenhouse forcing (Raval tion of the daisyworld life-albedo-climate feedback

as a signicant geophysiological process may not and Ramanathan, 1989; Rind et al., 1991). The

biota and the hydrological cycle are well known be unreasonable. One possible example of a real-

world life-albedo-climate oscillatory mechanism to be fundamentally coupled (see additional

remarks below), making geophysiological models involves the dramatic alteration of albedo due to

ecological shifts at northern hemisphere high latit- ideal tools for investigating life-climate-hydro-

logical cycle feedback mechanisms. udes and the associated feedbacks on climate.

Winter/spring albedo at these latitudes ranges

from 0.80.85 for snow-covered tundra to only

0.10.15 for snow-covered boreal forest (Klinger, 5. Concluding remarks

1991). Although this dierence is smaller in

summer, when most solar radiation reaches the We have shown that when the diagnostic equa-

tion for temperature in the original daisyworld northern high latitude region, the cold season

dierences still may signicantly aect Earths model is replaced with a dierential equation that

allows for disequilibria in the planetary radiation radiation balance and exert a broader scale

inuence on climate (Barnett et al., 1988; Bonan balance, self-sustained temperature oscillations

can arise from the internal dynamics of the coupled et al., 1992; Gallimore and Kutzbach, 1996).

Furthermore, boreal forests shift to tundra on a physicalbiological system. Considered in the con-

text of geophysiology, our results point to a new timescale of 1001000 years, likely due to climatic

inuences (Sirois, 1992; Klinger and Short, 1996). line of investigation into whether the daisyworld

model can be modied further to more realistically Such a timescale is comparable to Earths thermal

response time, which, as discussed earlier, is a simulate Earth conditions and behaviors, includ-

ing natural limit cycles and possible chaos. A prerequisite for internal self-sustained oscillations

to arise in a coupled system. critical step toward meeting this goal would

Tellus 51B (1999), 4

c. NrvisoN r1 :i. 814

involve introducing a hydrological cycle that is the study of the metabolism of individual organ-

isms. Indeed the noted Scottish geologist James fundamentally coupled to life and climate. Such a

step would be consistent with the idea that geophy- Hutton stated as early as 1785 that the planetary

hydrological cycle can be compared to the circula- siology, the study of the dynamics of the whole-

Earth system, is analogous to human physiology, tion of blood in the human body (Lovelock, 1995).

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