The researchers know that more, and more unsafe, storms have begun to transpire as the climate warms. A team of scientists has reported an underlying description, using meteorological satellite data gathered over a 35-year in observation period.
The examination of the movement and interaction of mechanical energies crossways the atmosphere, published January 24 in the journal Nature Communications, is the first to sightsee long-term variations of the Lorenz energy cycle -- a complex formula used to describe the interface between potential and kinetic energy in the atmosphere -- and offers a new outlook on what is happening with global warming.
Observers Created New Hypothesis Of Growing Climate Change
"It is a new way to look at and explain what people have observed," said Liming Li, assistant professor of physics at the University of Houston and corresponding author of the paper. "We found that the efficiency of Earth's global atmosphere as a heat engine is increasing during the past four decades in response to climate change."
In this case, augmented efficiency isn't a good thing. It suggests more possible energy is being transformed to kinetic energy -- that is driving atmospheric cycle - resulting in a greater potential for devastating storms in regions where the adaptation takes place. Uncontrolled, climate drastically changed.
"Our studies suggest that most energy components in the Lorenz energy cycle have optimistic trends," the researchers wrote. "Thus, the efficiency of Earth's global heat engine increased during the past 35 years."
In addition to Li, researchers gathered data in the work include Yefeng Pan, first author and a former doctoral student at UH; Xun Jiang, associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at UH; Gan Li, Wentao Zhang and Xinyue Wang, all of Guilin University of Electronic Technology; and Andrew P. Ingersoll of the California Institute of Technology.
Data Shows Drastic Changes Since The Start Of Global Concern
The researchers used three self-regulating meteorological datasets to track variables including three-dimensional wind field, geopotential-height field, and temperature field at points across the globe since 1979 to 2013 and still progresses today. They then used the data to figure out the Lorenz energy cycle of the global atmosphere. Such an immense energy cycle in the atmosphere significantly effects weather and climate.
Previous studies have covered only five-year and 10-year periods before 1973, Li said. "Now we can examine the Lorenz energy cycle of the global atmosphere during the past 35 years, using satellite-based annotations," he said.
While the researchers reported that the total mechanical energy of the global atmosphere remains constant over time, there has been a significant increase in what they describe as "eddy energies," or the energies associated with storms, eddies, and turbulence.
Li said the positive trends for eddy energies were particularly pronounced in the southern hemisphere and over parts of Asia, and point out that escalating storm activity over the southern oceans and increasing drought in Central Asia contribute to the positive trends.
"This is a new viewpoint to explain global warming from an energy perspective," he said.