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Thermodynamics of climate change: generalized sensitivities

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Lucarini, V., Fraedrich, K. and Lunkeit, F. (2010) Thermodynamics of climate change: generalized sensitivities. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 10 (20). pp. 9729-9737. ISSN 1680-7316

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To link to this article DOI: 10.5194/acp-10-9729-2010

Abstract/Summary

Using a recent theoretical approach, we study how global warming impacts the thermodynamics of the climate system by performing experiments with a simplified yet Earth-like climate model. The intensity of the Lorenz energy cycle, the Carnot efficiency, the material entropy production, and the degree of irreversibility of the system change monotonically with the CO2 concentration. Moreover, these quantities feature an approximately linear behaviour with respect to the logarithm of the CO2 concentration in a relatively wide range. These generalized sensitivities suggest that the climate becomes less efficient, more irreversible, and features higher entropy production as it becomes warmer, with changes in the latent heat fluxes playing a predominant role. These results may be of help for explaining recent findings obtained with state of the art climate models regarding how increases in CO2 concentration impact the vertical stratification of the tropical and extratropical atmosphere and the position of the storm tracks.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Department of Meteorology
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Walker Institute for Climate System Research
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Department of Mathematics and Statistics
ID Code:16700
Publisher:Copernicus Publications

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