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!
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.”
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”
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”
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”
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.Continue reading “Empowering the Earth system with technology: Using thermodynamics to illustrate the possibility of sustained future growth of human societies”
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”
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.Continue reading “#goldschmidt2021 We contribute our work on dissipative dynamics and frequency distributions in river geochemistry and an update on the thermodynamics of planetary evolution.”
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”
Wind energy plays an important role in the transition to a carbon-neutral, sustainable energy system and is rapidly expanding. So it is a good time to ask how much wind energy there actually is, whether we get close to the limits anytime soon, and why the efficiency of wind energy must decline when used at larger scales. These are basic science questions: How, and why, does the atmosphere actually generate motion, how much does it generate, and how much of it can at most be used? These questions I address in a review paper just published in which I show that it does not take much physics to answer these.Continue reading “Why does wind energy become less efficient when used at larger scales? Basic physics explains this effect, starting with a very limited ability of the atmosphere to generate wind energy from radiation, as described in my new review just published.”