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Basics Of Climate Science By Ian Beardsley Copyright 2014 by Ian Beardsley

How Climate Works The incoming radiation from the sun is about 1370 watts per square meter as determined by the energy per second emitted by the sun reduced by the inverse square law at earth orbit. !We calculate the total absorbed energy intercepted by the Earth's disc (pi)r^2, its distribution over its surface area 4(pi)r^2 and take into account that about 30% of that is reflected back into space, so the effective radiation hitting the Earth's surface is about 70% of the incoming radiation reduced by four. Radiative energy is equal to temperature to the fourth power by the Stefan-boltzmann constant.!However, the effective incoming radiation is also trapped by greenhouse gases and emitted down towards the surface of the earth (as well as emitted up towards space from this lower atmosphere called the troposphere), the most powerful greenhouse gas being CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and most abundant and important is water vapour. !This doubles the radiation warming the surface of the planet. !The atmosphere is predominately Nitrogen gas (N2) and Oxygen gas (O2), about 95 percent. !These gases, however, are not greenhouse gases. !The greenhouse gas CO2, though only exists in trace amounts, and water vapour, bring the temperature of the Earth up from minus 18 degrees centigrade (18 below freezing) to an observed average of plus 15 degrees centigrade (15 degrees above freezing). Without these crucial greenhouse gases, the Earth would be frozen. !They have this enormous effect on warming the planet even with CO2 existing only at 400 parts per million. !It occurs naturally and makes life on Earth possible. !However, too much of it and the Earth can be too warm, and we are now seeing amounts beyond the natural levels through anthropogenic sources, that are making the Earth warmer than is favorable for the conditions best for life to be maximally sustainable. !We see this increase in CO2 beginning with the industrial era. !The sectors most responsible for the increase are power, industry, and transportation. !Looking at records of CO2 amounts we see that it was 315 parts per million in 1958 and rose to 390 parts per million in 2010. !It rose above 400 in 2013. Other greenhouse gases are methane (CH4) and Nitrous Oxide (N2O). Agricultural activities dominate emissions for nitrous oxide and methane. !A healthy earth is one that is in radiative equilibrium, that is, it loses as much radiation as it receives. Currently we are slightly out of radiative balance, the Earth absorbs about one watt per square meter more than it loses. !That means its temperature is not steady, but increasing. The solar luminosity is:

L0 = 3.9 " 10 26 J / s
The average distance of the Earth from the Sun is:

1.5 " 1011 m

Therefore the solar constant is:

S0 = 3.9 " 10 26 = 1,370 watts / meter 2 4 # (1.5 " 1011 ) 2

That is the amount of energy per second per square meter hitting the Earth. The radiation, F, is proportional to the temperature, T to the fourth power, and equal by the Stefan-Boltzman constant, sigma:

F = "T 4

" = 5.67 # 10 $8 Wm $2K $4

This gives the temperature, T, at the top of the Suns photosphere is:

T=6,000 degrees Kelvin The planetary albedo, a, is the amount of radiation from the Sun that the Earth reflects back into space which is 30%. Therefore a=0.3 is the planetary albedo. Therefore the Earth receives 70% of the Suns light, or, in other words:

S0 (1 " a)#r 2 S0 = (1 " a) = $T 4 4 #r 2 4 T = 255K = "18 o C

That is the temperature the Earth would be if it had no atmosphere, minus eighteen degrees centigrade. The observed average temperature is:
T = 15 o C

Fifteen degrees centigrade.


Let us look at a simple model if there is an atmosphere: We have same amount of radiation entering system as leaving, that is, sigma T to the fourth effective equals sigma T to the fourth of the atmosphere:

"Te4 = "Ta4


Sigma T of the surface to the fourth = amount of radiation coming in from the sun, sigma T effective to the fourth plus the amount of radiation coming down from the atmosphere, sigma T of the atmosphere to the 4. This is the greenhouse effect. Radiative Equilibrium Top Of Atmosphere:

"Ta4 =

S0 (1 # a p ) = "Te4 4


"TS4 = "Ta4 +

S0 (1 # a p ) = 2"Te4 4

TS = 21/ 4 Te = 303K " 30deg C

This is actually warmer than the average annual temperature of the surface of the earth. Reasons why are real atmosphere is not opaque and heat is transported as well by convection. In reality almost twice as much radiation is received from the atmosphere than from incoming radiation from the sun. This shows the power of the greenhouse effect. Most of the cooling is in the evaporation of water, especially in the tropics. Most of the radiation is radiated in the subtropics where there are no clouds. But we have not considered the emissivity, epsilon, of the atmosphere. It is the amount of radiation absorbed by the atmosphere that is emitted. We apply the same principle as above, but include epsilon:


(1 " # ) = $%T 4 earth 4

Alpha is the planetary albedo, which is about 33% and S not is the solar constant, which is closer to 1,350 than our earlier approximation. Intensity up from atmosphere plus intensity down from atmosphere equals intensity up from the ground, or:
2"#T 4 atmosphere = "#T 4 ground Tground = 21/ 4 Tatmosphere $ 1.2Tatmosphere

The calculation yields 295 Kelvin for the Earth, and that observed is 251 Kelvin. Thus with a simple one layer atmosphere model, we have closely predicted the planets temperature. Venus with an albedo 71% yields 240 Kelvin but in reality is 700 Kelvin. The discrepancy is in its higher abundance of greenhouse gases responsible for a runaway greenhouse effect. Mars, with an albedo of 17% yields 216 degrees Kelvin but is observed to be 240 degrees Kelvin. Venus=2600, Mars=259, and Earth = 1350 for solar constants in watts per square meter. Epsilon for earth is about 96%-99%. March 25, 2014 Climate Science, Convection We refine our model by including convection. Convection is heat transport by movement of a mass of fluid from one place to another. In climate physics it is the vertical transfer of heat by rising warm air and sinking cool air. Our model is too hot at or near the surface of the earth, too cold at a near tropopause, lapse rate of temperature is too large in troposphere, however the stratosphere model is close. We must look at convection, it is very important. It is as important as radiation in transporting enthalpy in the vertical and controls water and vapor clouds, which are the two most important aspects to radiative transfer. The mechanism is warmer substances are less dense and less dense substances rise because they have less per volume for gravity to act on them. When they cool, they sink. Stability In a valley a ball will roll down a hill until it settles at the lowest point, which is an equilibrium state, or solution. Another equilibrium solution is when the ball is perched on top of a hill with valleys on either side; it wont go out of equilibrium until it is pushed in either direction, in which case it would roll down a hill. Hydrostatic Equilibrium Gravity accelerates a gas downward, net pressure makes it rise upwards.

wiegt = "g#$x$y$z # = density g = gravity

$x$y$z = volume = %V pressure : p$x$y " ( p + $p)($x$y ) or : p%A " ( p + %p)( %A) = pressure %A = Area
Pressure is force per unit area and that above is the net pressure, the pressure at the bottom of the box minus that at the top. Pressure being force per unit area gives force when multiplied by area. 5

mass = m = "#x#y#z = "$V d 2z = m 2 = %g( "#x#y#z) % (#p#x#y ) dt clearly dw 'p = %g % & dt 'z & = specific _ volume = 1/ " = volume / mass The Ideal Gas Law says pressure is proportional to temperature:
dw dt


RT p

Combining our two equations (of motion and pressure:


$p RT $p = "g " =0 $z p $z 1 $p g =" p $z RT pressure = p T = temperature

"g " #
This is the hydrostatic equation for an ideal gas at rest in a gravitational field. We integrate the equation, and:
p = p0e "2 / H RT = scale _ hieght g For _ Earth _ H $ 8 km H#

We assert the pressure in the vertical of the atmosphere is approximately exponential. The real atmosphere is not isothermal, the temperature varies, but not over a a huge fraction. Buoyoancy

dw = "g# b$x$y$z " $p$x$y dt # b = density _ of _ fluid dw &p = "g% b dt &z &p = "g / % e &z dw % " %e =g b 'B dt %e
Alpah sub b and alpha sub e are specific volumes of fluids, b in the sample, e the surrounding environment. B is buoyancy. If the fluid in the box, or sample is less dense than the fluid in the surrounding environment (has a larger specific volume) it will accelerate upwards. It is Archimedes law. We can determine whether a density in a gravitational field will be stable. Adibiatic Sample (No Heat Is Added Or Subtracted) Buoyancy And Entropy
specific _ volume : " = 1/ # specific _ entropy : s " = " ( p, s)

Specific volume is a function of pressure and entropy. By the chain rule and using Maxwells Law (from first law of thermodynamics):
% $T ( % $# ( ("# ) p = ' * "s = ' * "s & $s ) p & $p ) s B=g ("# ) p g % $T ( % $T ( = ' * "s = +' * "s = ,"s & $z ) s # # & $p ) s

, = adiabiatic _ lapse _ rate

The sample will be positively buoyant if its entropy exceeds that of its environment.

Adiabatic Lapse Rate (From First Law of Theromodynamics And Ideal Gas Law)


ds dT dx = cv +p dt dt dt

Q = total _ heating c v = heat _ capacity dT dp Q = cp "# = 0 : adiabatic dt dt c p dT + gdz = 0 : hydrostatic dT g = " $ %d : adiabatic _ lapse _ rate & 1o C /100 m = 1K /100 m dz c g %= cp c p = cv + R

If entropy doesnt change at all, there is neutral stability. Entropy decreases with altitude then the sample is positively buoyant (unstable) and accelerates upward. Entropy increases with altitude results in entropy less than its environment, and would be negatively buoyant and would accelerate downwards, and that state is stable. The radiative equilibrium of the troposphere if you calculate its entropy, you find it decreases upward. So with decreasing entropy with altitude, it is unstable. The radiation is constantly driving a state of instability and so you get convection where warm samples flow upward and cool samples flow downward. With radiation driving instability and convection working towards stability, you usually get stability. It drives the atmosphere to a neutral state because radiative timescales are long and convective timescales are short.

March 27, 2014 Radiative-Convective Equilibrium Adjusted for convection we have 313 degrees K when model is 333K. Still a little too warm. The reason is that in the real atmosphere convection involves the phase change of water known as moist convection. A cloud is a collection of very tiny condensed water doplets, or ice crystals. They are so tiny they can be considered to be in suspension. They are so small their terminal velocities are small compared to air motions. Clouds form when air expands and cools. Their saturation vapor pressure drops. Water vapor condenses. This happens when there is higher pressure at the surface and lower pressure higher in the atmosphere: air rises, expands and cools. When water vapor condenses it releases latent heat of vaporization and when it freezes it releases the latent heat of fusion. Our model has to be adjusted for the heat when water condenses. Condensed water also evaporates, absorbing latent heat of vaporization or fusion, causing air to cool. Moist convection redistributes water from the surface up through the atmosphere. Moist convection is the agent of lofting water and makes the atmosphere moist. Remember, water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas. At 6 hectopascals, around 0 degrees C, water exists in all three phases. As one increases temperature on increases saturation vapor pressure, it increases exponentially. As one applies pressure to water-ice, one can melt it. Heterogeneous Nucleation: the condensation of vapor onto pre-existing solid or liquid particles called aerosols. We dont need to know how fast this takes place. The time is nominal. Precipitiation, small water particles in suspension collide, coalesce into sizes heavy enough to fall, called stochastic coalescence. Not very effective. Saturation Entropy s*

"T% " p% " q * (T, p) % s* = c p ln$ ' ( Rd ln$ ' + Lv $ ' # T & # T0 & # p0 & Lv = latent _ heat _ of _ vaporization q* = saturation _ specific _ humidity
The upward flux in the clouds must equal downward flux in between clouds:

MT =

"S d = #Q "z


Amount of water evaporating from the ocean must equal precipitation (water re-entering ocean): Precipitiation=Evaporization=Radiative Cooling (of atmosphere) Two Layer Radiative-Convective Model

"Te 4 = effective _ from _ sun "T14 = radiates _ up _ and _ down _ from _ layer _ one
It receives a convective heat flux from the surface Fs and it also convects a heat flux, Fc , towards layer two.

"Ts4 = temperature _ of _ surface

Layer 2; Emits radiation upward and downward at "T2 4 and receives convective heat flux from Fc .
T1 = T2 + "T Ts = T2 + 2 "T ! at _ top _ of _ atmosphere : T2 = Te T1 = Te + "T Ts = Te + 2 "T Surface : Fs + #Ts4 = #Te 4 + #T14 Layer2 : 2#Te 4 = #T14 + Fc

(F_c is convective flux coming from first layer)


Define : x "

#T Te

Fs = $Te 4 [1 + (1 + x ) 4 % (1 + 2 x ) 4 ] Fc = $Te 4 [2 % (1 + x ) 4 ]


April 3, 2014 We spoke of heat transfer in the vertical due to radiative transfer and convective transfer, now we talk about motion of both air and water in both the horizontal and vertical directions, which would be air currents and ocean currents involving the coriolis force or acceleration of air and water due to the rotation of the earth in other words, which is to the right of its motion in the northern hemisphere and the left in the southern hemisphere. That which we see are things like the westerly trade winds and other winds, with their associated eddies. This is important for the motion of air and water from the tropics to the poles. We begin with the exact solution for a planet like earth, but without continents.
du $p = fv " # dt $x dv $p = " fu " # dt $z # = specific _ volume p = pressure f = 2% sin & = coriolis _ parameter % = angular _ rotation _ earth

(u and v are velocities, east-west and north-south respectively and theta is a measure of latitude) Geostrophic Balance Enough East-West motion to balance the pressure gradient:


#p = $ fu #z

It is a fundamental balance we see in the real world. This is why we see air circulating clockwise around high pressure systems and counter clockwise around low pressure systems. And similarily for east-west pressure gradients:


#p = fv #x


Combining this with hydrostatic balance we have: #p " = $ fu #y #p " = $g #z E lim inate _ p _ by _ cross _ differentiation % # ln(" ) ( % # ln(T ) ( #u f = $g' * = $ g' * #z & #y ) & #y ) Which is the Thermal Wind Equation. This is the vertical derivative of the east-west wind times the coriolis parameter. It says when temperature decrease towards the pole, zonal wind (west-east component of the wind) must increase with altitude. Because they are west-east winds, they dont transport energy in the north-south direction. Two potential problems with this solution: Not enough angular momentum available for required east-west wind and equilibrium solution may be unstable. One must be very careful to distinguish between equilibrium solutions and stability. Warm air extends towards the poles and cold air flows towards the equator. That tends to warm-up high latitudes and cool down low latitudes. A pendulum is stable, it continues oscillating in the same way, about the center. But moving, it is not in equilibria; that is when it is still, hanging straight down. Stable solutions oscillate. Warm moist air moves to the poles, dry cool air to the equator. When warm air moves up, it pushes cool air down; cool air moving down pushes warm air up. This is oscillatory. Eddies transport energy away from the equator. Eddies drive the temperature gradients down to about half of what they would be in the radiative-convective equilibrium solution. It is not exactly clear how climate change effects eddies, but it is a subject of vigorous research. The Story So Far. First we considered an Earth that is in radiative equilibrium, that is, has as much radiation coming in from the sun, as leaving. We noticed that the temperature of the atmosphere was the same as the effective radiation coming in from the sun and from that we were able to determine the temperature of the surface of the planet. But that was not good enough, we next considered an atmosphere with two layers instead of one and brought in the idea of convective equilibrium, where we get further heat transfer from convection, which is the rising of warm air and sinking of cool air. We also now considered the emmisivity of the atmospheric layers as well. Both radiative and convective heat transfer are vertical. We now turned to the horizontal components, which transfer heat. They are ocean and air currents. The wind in other words, for one thing. We find there is an exact solution where we learned wind velocities and directions are determined by the pressure of air, which is determined by its temperature, and are brought about by coriolis forces, which are those forces on the air which are caused by the rotation of the Earth, and the results depended on latitude.


So, in order for earth to be in equilibrium it has to lose energy (heat) it gains and it does this through the mechanisms of radiating infrared radiation into space (radiative transfer), evaporate ocean water pulling it into the sky as water vapor to make clouds (convection), and create ocean and wind air currents (ocean streams and wind). The Wind
cm 3 "= g 1 = per _ area cm 2 cm 1 #p = g 2 = force / area s cm 2 #y = cm = lattitude

#p cm 3 cm 1 1 cm = g 2 = = acceleration 2 #y g s cm cm s2 radians f = 2$ sin % = sec cm radians cm u= & fu = = cm /sec 2 = acceleration s sec sec #p " = ' fu #y "
In other words, the pressure change in the atmosphere with latitude, North-South direction, results in an east-west wind due to the rotation of the Earth. Ian Beardsley April 13, 2014


The Author Who Is Learning Climate Science At MIT