The reason for the increase in the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic and the torrential rains in Eurasia and America in recent years has been the fact that global warming increases the efficiency of “pumping” heat in the Earth’s atmosphere and its transformation into kinetic energy, according to an article published in the journal Nature Communications.
“Our work is a new attempt to explain what we see today in nature.We have found that the efficiency of energy transfer in the Earth’s atmosphere in the global sense of the word has increased markedly in the last four decades, thus responding to climate change,” said Limin Lee (Liming Li) from the University of Houston (USA).
In recent years, as noted by scientists, the frequency of occurrence of so-called extreme weather events has increased markedly – large hurricanes off the coast of the United States and a number of East Asian countries, floods in the continental regions of America and Europe, long periods of drought and anomalous heat in Russia and Central Asia. All this, according to the researchers, is associated with global warming, but the mechanism of its action on the weather remained unknown.
Li and his colleagues revealed the possible cause of the increase in the number of catastrophes, studying the effect of temperature increases on the so-called Lorentz cycle – the energy cycle in the atmosphere and the associated process of converting the potential heat energy into the kinetic energy of air masses. This relationship was first discovered and described by the mathematically famous American meteorologist Edward Lorenz, the author of “chaos theory” and the inventor of the term “butterfly effect”.
In the existence of this cycle, scientists do not doubt, but, according to the authors of the article, no one has ever studied how it can change when the air temperature rises by several degrees. Guided by this idea, the scientists analyzed the data collected by the NASA and US Department of Defense climate satellites from 1979 to 2013.
Scientists were interested in how different key variables that control the work of the cycle affect its behavior. In other words, they tried to determine how the temperature shifts up or down, the solar irradiation force of the Earth, the fluctuations in atmospheric pressure increase or decrease the rate of conversion of air heat into the movement of air masses and vice versa.
As the analysis of the data showed, the increase in air temperature and the associated quantities in all cases led to the same result-the increase in the efficiency of heat exchange and the acceleration of the conversion of one type of energy into another. In this case, such an “increase in efficiency”, according to Lee, is negative.
Thanks to this, the total amount of mechanical energy enclosed in the atmosphere of the Earth remained always the same, but its surplus was quickly withdrawn from it in the form of storms, cyclones, anticyclones and other harmless or unpleasant phenomena associated with the movement of air masses. All this explains why the number of natural disasters and extreme weather phenomena has increased dramatically in recent years, and suggests that in the future, if global warming accelerates, things will get worse.