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Im trying to find phenomena that impact our everyday lives that are subject to quantum randomness. And I was wondering whether weather might be one of them. Can an electron behaving slightly differently have such a ripple effect that it impacts our weather?

Alternatively, I saw on a post here earlier that Jupiter supposedly impacts our weather and as planetary orbits aren't wholly deterministic maybe that's an angle from which quantum randomness affects our weather

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The initiation of lightning strikes may be susceptible to triggering by cosmic rays. However, whether it is actually so remains contentious - some papers argue no and others yes (but weakly). Would this count as a quantum phenomenon? Certainly where the decay products of a cosmic ray shower go and what type they have are due to a distinct quantum interation further up in the atmosphere. Then the lightening is triggered by a runaway breakdown as electrons move through an electric field, gain energy, and hit atoms in a way that releases more electrons.

At some level this all turns into classical physics, and the lightning strike itself is essentially a chaotic (electro)hydrodynamic process that scales up a tiny disturbance in a mixing manner. That in turn gets scaled up by the rest of the chaotic dynamics of the atmosphere: surely quantum noise does get to affect these scales, but since it gets mixed with all noise sources it does not stand out. It affects the weather as much as sneezing and butterfly wings.

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  • $\begingroup$ Oh nice! Thanks, I hadn't heard about the lightning example. I saw someone say " the chaotic dynamics of the weather will magnify even small changes, such as the direction individual gas molecules travel after they collide, to produce large differences in the weather once enough time has passed." And so was curious whether that's actually true, but the lightning example is very interesting $\endgroup$
    – Bigbadant
    Jul 13 at 15:29
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Weather is an inherently random system. No-one controls it. Weather predictions become increasingly inaccurate and uncertain the farther in time the prediction is calculated.

All randomness originates from probabilistic quantum events. There is no such thing as macro scale randomness. In chaotic systems, like the weather, minuscule quantum randomness is amplified to observable scale.

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