How long have you been at the power plant in the winter? Remember how hot exhaust evenly mixed with the cold air? It is easy to convince yourself that the simple burning of fossil fuels (not even the greenhouse gases released by burning it) leads to climate change.
In fact, the energy released in this way is very small on a global scale, so the researchers see it as a rounding error. And yet, although the production of electricity does not add a lot of heat, it affects how the heat is distributed. According to new data, in some areas it is clearly visible.
|Photo Leszek Kozlowski.|
It is quite possible to assess the global use of energy from all sources, and then measure its impact on the climate. Average is extremely low — less than 0.1 W / m, whereas, for example, the effects of anthropogenic carbon dioxide is about 1.5 W / m². Not surprisingly, the direct heating of the atmosphere due to the consumption of energy is not included in the main climate models.
A new study suggests that this omission should be corrected. The authors note that in some cities, the energy use is very intense (eg, in Tokyo — to 1 590 W / m²), and this may be enough to change the regional air circulation. Given the large number of these points, we can assume that the regional effects add up to a noticeable global shift.
The authors use a model CAM3 National Center for Atmospheric Research (USA), adding 86 points — cities that produce an estimated more than 0.4 W / m? each in the lower atmosphere, below 130 m under standard conditions, other models have worked 100 years.
As expected, the warming has not changed, but not so on the place and time warming. In the winter months in some parts of the world was warmer by a degree compared to models that do not take into account the points. Distinguished northeastern North America, western Canadian Arctic region and Siberia. In the spring, this picture has disappeared, and in the summer and fall was even cooler.
These data may explain some of the differences between models and observations. Models generally predict that the Arctic will warm up faster than the rest of the world, and observations confirm this. But she is warming faster than predicted, and this is still unclear.
But models associate a low pressure area in the Russian Arctic to the area of high pressure in the Central Asia. This explains the shift of warm air to the north. Perhaps this is the reason of the foregoing.
The authors acknowledge that this is only a first attempt: accounted for only 42% of the world as a result of heat energy (the rest is heat, is likely to be more dispersed), to the same data are not available in many cities.
The study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Prepared according to Ars Technica.