# Method of characteristics

From AMS Glossary

## method of characteristics

A method of solving systems of nonlinear differential equations by constructing the characteristics for the equations over the region of known initial data and proceeding along these lines to determine the solutions for later times or for new regions of space.

This method has been used successfully in the study of gas flows and has been applied to the meteorological problem of one-dimensional unsteady flow of air under an inversion surface.

Freeman, J. C. 1951. Compendium of Meteorology. 421–433.