Posts Tagged ‘equipartition of energy.’

Applying EQUIPARTITION OF ENERGY To Climate Change PREDICTS WILD WEATHER.

March 8, 2008

Lately, the world weather has been especially perplexing, influenced by the cold ocean temperatures of a La Niña current in the equatorial Pacific. For Earth’s land areas, globally, 2007 was the warmest year on record.

And yet, this year so far, eleven weeks into 2008, we are only March 20, record cold temperatures are more the norm. Global land-surface temperatures are, so far, below the 20th-century mean for the first time since 1982, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Last month in China, snowstorms stranded millions of people, while in Mumbai, officials reported the coldest day in 46 years. Very strange… What happened to global warming? the skeptics, fossil fuel bound, will chuckle. They should ask; what happens with global warming?

Indeed, England basked in its fourth-warmest January since 1914, the British Meteorological Office reported. The crocus and narcissus at the U.K.’s Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew flowered a week earlier than last year — 11 days ahead of their average for the decade and weeks ahead of their pattern in the 1980s. In Prague, New Year’s Day was the warmest since 1775.

It is difficult to judge the significance of what we are seeing this year,” said Kew researcher Sandra Bell. “Is it a glitch or is it the beginning of something more sinister and alarming?“” (Robert Lee Hotz, Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2008).

Difficult? Not all! Expected, is more like it! Many scientists have pondered this question, as if they did not know the answer, but it is a straightforward application of thermodynamics. I demonstrated, and advertized that theorem of mine, years ago. What I discovered is this:

A basic theorem of equilibrium thermodynamics, the EQUIPARTITION OF ENERGY theorem, says that the same amount of energy should be present in all degrees of freedom into which energy can spill. The rise in CO2 density forces more energy in the lower atmosphere by trapping more infrared radiation there (more than half of the atmosphere is below 5,500 meters, about 17, 000 feet).

(How does one demonstrate this theorem? Basically, heat is agitation, kinetic energy at the scale of atoms and molecules. This agitation can spill in a more organized manner, in great ensembles, such as vast low and high pressure systems, or large scale dynamics. See the note on entropy and negative temperatures.)

It gets worse than that: by rising the heat in the lower atmosphere, the over-abundance of CO2 rises the steam, the water vapor, boosting the temperature further as water vapor is even more of a greenhouse gas than CO2! So a nonlinear effect is at work: the heat goes up more than what would expect from the rise of the CO2 density alone…

In the case of meteorology, the EQUIPARTITION OF ENERGY THEOREM implies, oversimplifying a bit, that only one-third of the new supplementary energy injected in the lower atmosphere should go into heat. The rest should go in the two other available dimensions.

Instead everybody seems to be focusing on the augmentation of temperature alone… Until they get hit by an unexpected blizzard from the north… Now, of course, since the energy enters the system as heat, non equilibrium thermodynamics imposes more than one-third of the energy will be heat.

As time goes by, though, the other two degrees of freedom, potential energy (represented as the geometry of gradients of pressures, high and low pressure systems, hurricanes) and dynamics (wind speed and vast movements of air masses of varying temperatures and/or pressure; and the same for sea currents) will also store energy.

Thus the new heat created in the lower atmosphere by the increased CO2 greenhouse will be transformed in all sorts of weather weirdness: heat, cold, high and low pressures, wind, and big moves of big things. Big things such as vast re-arrangements of low and high pressure systems, as observed in the Northern Hemisphere, or the re-arrangement of sea currents as apparently also observed, and certainly as it is expected. Since it happened in the past (flash ice age of the Younger Dryas over Europe, 18,000 years ago).

As cold and warm air masses get thrown about, the variability of temperatures will augment all over.

In other words, record snow and cold in the Alps and record warmth simultaneously in England is a manifestation of the equipartition of energy theorem applied to the greenhouse warming we are experiencing. It is not mysterious at all, and brutal variations such as these, including sudden cold episodes, are to be expected, as more and more energy gets stuffed in the planetary climate, and yanks it away from its previous equilibrium.

Wind speed augmentations have already have a spectacular effect: by shaking the waters of the Austral ocean with increasingly violent waves, carbon dioxyde is being removed as if out of a shaken carbonated drink. Thus the Austral ocean is now a net emitter of CO2(other oceans absorb CO2, and transform it into carbonic acid).

Hence the observed variations are the beginning of something more sinister and alarming. Climate change is changing speed. Up, up, and away.

Patrice Ayme
Patriceayme.com
Patriceayme.wordpress.com.

Note on entropy: Some may object that transforming heat into collective behavior of vast masses of air or sea violates the Second Law Of Thermodynamics, namely that entropy augments always, in any natural process. Well, first of all, the genius of the genus Homo, not to say of all of life itself, rests on local violations of the Second Law. Secondly, the most recent physics recognizes that fundamental considerations allow systems where increased energy lead to increased order (such a system is said to be in a negative temperature state).

Even more revealingly, a massive greenhouse on planet Earth would lead, as happened in the past, to a much more uniform heat, all around the planet, that is, a more ordered state. Meanwhile, the transition to the present order of a temperate climate to the completely different order of an over-heated Earth will bring complete disorder, as observed.


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