Feedback analysis is a powerful tool for studying the Earth system. It provides a formal framework for evaluating the relative importance of different interactions in a dynamical system. As such, its application is essential for a predictive or even a mechanistic understanding of the complex interplay of processes on the Earth. This paper reviews the basic principles of feedback analysis and tries to highlight the importance of the technique for the interpretation of physical systems. The need for clear and consistent definitions when comparing different interactions is emphasized. It is also demonstrated that feedback analyses can shed light on how uncertainty in physical processes translates into uncertainty in system response, and that the strength of the feedbacks has a very tight connection to the dynamical response time of the system.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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