Thermodynamics, entropy and life — does this sound intriguing but also confusing to you? As part of the virtual Spring School on Physics and Mathematics applied to Ecology, organized by Oliver Lopez Corona, I give a lecture where I will cover how thermodynamics applies to the biosphere and the planetary environment, and how it connects to concepts such as the Gaia hypothesis or planetary boundaries. Hopefully, after the lecture, it is clearer to you what entropy is, how it applies to the Earth system, its biosphere, and their interactions. And why it is so important! If you are interested to learn more, this blogpost provides some links to literature mentioned in the lecture.
Here is more information:
- The quote of Albert Einstein on thermodynamics is described in Klein (1967).
- The most comprehensive description is in my book published by Cambridge University Press, but, unfortunately, it is not open access. See also this blog. The thermodynamic Earth system view was also published in Kleidon (2010) (open access).
- If you want to learn more on radiation entropy, there are the reviews by Landsberg and Tonge (1980) and Wu and Liu (2010) that may be helpful. Or, alternatively, in Kleidon et al. (2016) we describe the basics of thermodynamics and how it applies to radiation as well.
- In Kleidon and Renner (2013) we derived the Carnot limit from the first and second law of thermodynamics and applied maximum power to the surface energy balance and hydrologic cycling. We also applied it in greater detail to surface energy balance partitioning in Kleidon et al. (2014), Dhara et al. (2015). We also tested the approach by evaluating aspects of global climate change, such as the hydrologic sensitivity, transient responses, and the contrasting climate sensitivity of land and ocean, and it was applied to the limits of wind energy.
- Kleidon (2021) describes the thermodynamics of photosynthsis, including estimates of evaporation and terrestrial carbon uptake that is shown in the slides. See also this blogpost.
- The application of maximum power to tropical rainforest is described in Conte et al. (2019).
- This book chapter (link to preprint on arXiv) that is currently in press describes the links between energy conversions and maximum power to the Gaia hypothesis.
- Kleidon (2022) describes the application to human societies and future sustainability. It is also available as a preprint on arXiv. See also this blogpost.
- The planetary classification scheme based on power is described in Frank et al. (2017).
- By the way, I am looking for a Postdoc.
And here are the slides: