Can we infer rainfall sensitivity to global warming using observations of precipitation and temperature? Not quite, until you correct for the cooling effects of clouds.

Rainfall events are expected to become heavier as the hydrologic cycle intensifies with global warming. To determine this strengthening, many studies use observed precipitation events and test how these change with observed temperatures. These so-called scaling rates differ from what is expected from theory, showing a decline above temperatures of around 23° – 25°C. This breakdown in scaling makes it difficult to interpret the precipitation response to global warming and its cause further remains unclear. It also raises the question of whether a high-temperature threshold limits the increase in the intensity of precipitation events with temperature. We resolve this in our latest paper by showing that the break in scaling primarily occurs due to radiative effect of clouds on surface temperatures that leads to a covariation between the two variables.

Continue reading “Can we infer rainfall sensitivity to global warming using observations of precipitation and temperature? Not quite, until you correct for the cooling effects of clouds.”
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We’ll be at #EGU22, showing how radiation and maximum power shape temperatures, their extremes, the atmospheric circulation and the wind energy resource. @akleidon @s_ghausi @yinglin_tian

Corona is still around, also in Vienna, but the EGU General Assembly will nevertheless happen again, in a hybrid form. We are thrilled to be there physically, giving our 6 minute short talks on our work, and look forward to seeing and talking to you there!

Continue reading “We’ll be at #EGU22, showing how radiation and maximum power shape temperatures, their extremes, the atmospheric circulation and the wind energy resource. @akleidon @s_ghausi @yinglin_tian”

“Thermodynamics and Optimality of the Biosphere” – online lecture, today, Friday, March 25, at 17:00 Jena time (CET) or 10:00 in Mexico. Interested? You can join too, if you like, here’s the link and background material.

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.

Continue reading ““Thermodynamics and Optimality of the Biosphere” – online lecture, today, Friday, March 25, at 17:00 Jena time (CET) or 10:00 in Mexico. Interested? You can join too, if you like, here’s the link and background material.”

Interested in how the Earth system works?  I have a #PostDoc opening available in my group, applying thermodynamics, max. power, and optimality to Earth system science. @MPI_BGC

The position is in my research group, which focuses on how the Earth functions as a whole system, the role of life within it, and what a sustainable human future might look like. We take a unique Earth system approach that focuses on thermodynamics, energy conversions, and limits/optimality such as maximum power.

We are seeking a motivated and interested person to help us further develop this approach, evaluate it using observational data, and/or compare it to climate model results. More details are provided in the formal job announcement, which you can find here. More background information in this post.

Continue reading “Interested in how the Earth system works?  I have a #PostDoc opening available in my group, applying thermodynamics, max. power, and optimality to Earth system science. @MPI_BGC”

“Kraftwerk Erde: Wie der belebte Planet Energie umwandelt” – Vortrag bei #FasziAstroOnline, heute Abend, 13.01.2022, 19 Uhr, live auf youtube.  Mehr Infos im Blog. @MPI_BGC @HdAstro

Die Erde arbeitet wie ein Kraftwerk, indem sie Sonnenenergie in andere Formen umwandelt, die die Winde der Atmosphäre, den Wasserkreislauf, und auch das Leben und die Menschheit auf der Erde erhalten.  Diese Umwandlungen folgen den Gesetzen der Thermodynamik, die sowohl die Richtung als auch die Grenzen setzt.  Aber Erdsystemprozesse beeinflussen sich auch gegenseitig, sodass man einen Blick auf das Gesamtsystem braucht.  In diesem Vortrag zeige ich, dass man allein durch diesen grundlegenden physikalischen Ansatz schon erstaunlich viel vom Erdsystem verstehen kann – über die fundamentalen Rolle von Energie und Entropie, wie Leben den Planeten verändert, aber auch zu angewandten Themen wie dem Klimawandel und warum die Photovoltaik die Technologie ist, die bei weitem den größten Beitrag zur Energiewende liefern wird.

Continue reading ““Kraftwerk Erde: Wie der belebte Planet Energie umwandelt” – Vortrag bei #FasziAstroOnline, heute Abend, 13.01.2022, 19 Uhr, live auf youtube.  Mehr Infos im Blog. @MPI_BGC @HdAstro”

At #AGU21, we present updates on understanding diurnal temperature variations on land and on deriving precipitation sensitivities from observations using “clear-sky” temperatures and maximum power

Corona has not yet gone away, but the AGU Fall Meeting nevertheless takes place, in a hybrid format. Annu Panwar will be physically there, giving an invited talk on her PhD thesis on diurnal temperature variations (see, e.g., her paper in HESS) and a poster, while Sarosh Alam Ghausi will be giving his poster on precipitation scaling virtually.

Continue reading “At #AGU21, we present updates on understanding diurnal temperature variations on land and on deriving precipitation sensitivities from observations using “clear-sky” temperatures and maximum power”

Empowering the Earth system with technology: Using thermodynamics to illustrate the possibility of sustained future growth of human societies

Global warming, biodiversity loss, freshwater shortages, food crisis — there are many reasons to think that the planetary future looks rather grim for human societies.  Is there any hope that things can turn out well?  It is quite hard to remain optimistic, yet when looking at it from basic physics one can find a way forward.  In this book chapter that has just been published online I looked at the issue of sustainability and the role of technology using our thermodynamic Earth system approach.

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#vEMS21: Our updates on using #thermodynamics for land-atmosphere interactions, the precipitation response to #globalwarming, and the #windenergy potential in the German bight

With summer coming to a close, we are back to present new insights from ongoing research in extreme precipitation events, offshore wind energy and thermodynamics at the European Meteorological Society Annual Meeting 2021. The event, which will be held online next week (6 – 10 September 2021), focuses on weather and climate research and services for the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Read on to find out more details about when and what each of us will be presenting.

Continue reading “#vEMS21: Our updates on using #thermodynamics for land-atmosphere interactions, the precipitation response to #globalwarming, and the #windenergy potential in the German bight”

#goldschmidt2021 We contribute our work on dissipative dynamics and frequency distributions in river geochemistry and an update on the thermodynamics of planetary evolution.

Our work on thermodynamics and the Goldschmidt conference on geochemistry – well, that seems like an obvious match. But what we contribute is a little different, and the match is not quite so straightforward. What our perspective adds is (a) a focus on non-equilibrium thermodynamics and disequilibrium, and the processes that generate and dissipate this disequilibrium, and (b) a system‘s view which accounts for the environmental setting as well as the interactions and feedbacks within the Earth as an overarching thermodynamic system. Both of our contributions next week nicely illustrate these points and show how important it is to think „thermodynamics“ beyond its more narrow application to geochemical reactions.

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#vEGU21 Next week we’ll present our work on precipitation scaling, diurnal temperature range, offshore wind, and limits to vegetation productivity based on our thermodynamic Earth system view

Thermodynamics rules the world, as well as the science that we present at this year’s EGU General Assembly, which is, alas, virtual rather than in Vienna. It may not be obvious, and our contributions are spread across different sessions. But in the end, we follow the solar energy as it passes through the Earth system, seeking simple, physics-based explanations to simple phenomena: precipitation scaling with temperature found in observations, the diurnal temperature range across regions and vegetation types, also in observations, limits to offshore wind energy in the North sea and what these imply for renewable energy scenarios, and how the really low efficiency of photosynthesis fits to the notion of vegetation being optimal.

Continue reading “#vEGU21 Next week we’ll present our work on precipitation scaling, diurnal temperature range, offshore wind, and limits to vegetation productivity based on our thermodynamic Earth system view”