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Institute Lecture on Using thermodynamic limits to infer climate and global climate change

The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay organized an Institute Lecture, details of which are mentioned below:

Title: Using thermodynamic limits to infer climate and global climate change

Speaker: Prof. Axel Kleidon (Research Group leader, Biospheric Theory and Modelling Group, Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany )

Day & Date: Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Time & venue : 4 pm at VMCC


Climate is commonly evaluated using observations or highly complex numerical simulation models, yet simple, back-of-the-envelope estimates are typically lacking. In this talk,  Prof. Axel Kleidon shows that such estimates can be obtained out of extremely simple energy balance models in which motion is described by the assumption that the atmosphere works as hard as it can to generate motion. This thermodynamic limit is shaped by the laws of thermodynamics as well as the interaction of heat transport with the driving temperature difference. I show that this approach predicts observed surface energy balance partitioning very well with a minimum need for information. I then apply this approach to understand the different temperature sensitivities of land and oceans to global warming, the different sensitivities of tropical and polar regions, and the sensitivity of hydrologic cycling to radiative changes.

About the speaker:

Axel Kleidon studied physics and meteorology at the University of Hamburg and Purdue University. He received his Ph.D. in 1998 in meteorology from the University of Hamburg. After his PostDoc at Stanford University, he joined the faculty of the University of Maryland in 2001. Since 2006 he leads an independent research group at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany. In his research, he uses thermodynamics to quantify natural energy conversions within the Earth system and their limits and applies this approach to understand atmosphere-biosphere interactions, Earth system responses to global change, and the natural limits of renewable energy.