The essence of the moiré effect is the (mainly visual) perception of a distinctly different third pattern which is caused by inexact superimposition of two similar patterns. This is similar to the intricate interaction of chaos and pattern in the climate.
The video art titled "Climate Moire", by Gloria King Merrritt, is inspired by the scientific work Edward Norton Lorenz (1917 – 2008), an American mathematician, meteorologist, and pioneer of chaos theory.
Lorenz built a mathematical model of the way air moves around in the atmosphere. As Lorenz studied weather patterns he began to realize that they did not always change as predicted. Minute variations in the initial values of variables in his twelve-variable computer weather model would result in grossly divergent weather patterns. This sensitive dependence on initial conditions came to be known as the "butterfly effect".
Lorenz went on to explore the underlying mathematics and published his conclusions in a seminal work titled Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow, in which he described a relatively simple system of equations that resulted in a very complicated dynamical object now known as the Lorenz attractor.
He studied mathematics at both Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. From 1942 until 1946, he served as a meteorologist for the United States Army Air Corps. After his return from World War II, he decided to study meteorology.
Lorenz earned two degrees in the area from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he later was a professor for many years. He was a Professor Emeritus at MIT from 1987 until his death.
During the 1950s, Lorenz became skeptical of the linear statistical models in meteorology, as most atmospheric phenomena involved in weather forecasting are non-linear. His work on the topic culminated in the publication of his 1963 paper Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow in Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, and with it, the foundation of chaos theory.