The Impact of Waste Heat Release on Climate: Experiments with a General Circulation Model

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  • a Reinhold-Schneider-Str. 6, 7500 Karlsruhe, F. R. Germany
  • | b International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg Austria
  • | c Meteorological Office, Bracknell, U.K.
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Abstract

Experiments were made with the Meteorological Office general circulation model (GCM) to investigate the response of the simulated atmospheric circulation to the addition of large amounts of waste heat in localized areas. The concept of large-scale energy parks determined the scenarios selected for the five perturbation experiments. Waste heat totaling 150 or 300 TW was added to the sensible heat exchange between the surface and air at energy parks in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in four experiments. In a fifth experiment, 300 TW were added to a 10 m deep “ocean box” simulated beneath the energy parks. Forty-day averages of meteorological fields from the five waste heat experiments and from three control cases are compared. Model variability is estimated on the basis of the three control cases. The regional and hemispheric responses of the atmospheric circulation are discussed, with emphasis on the magnitude of the heating rates and 500 mb height changes. The main conclusions that can be drawn are that the model exhibits a nonlinear response to the waste heat input and that, in middle latitudes, the spatial scale of the response is large even though the heat input scale is small.

Abstract

Experiments were made with the Meteorological Office general circulation model (GCM) to investigate the response of the simulated atmospheric circulation to the addition of large amounts of waste heat in localized areas. The concept of large-scale energy parks determined the scenarios selected for the five perturbation experiments. Waste heat totaling 150 or 300 TW was added to the sensible heat exchange between the surface and air at energy parks in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in four experiments. In a fifth experiment, 300 TW were added to a 10 m deep “ocean box” simulated beneath the energy parks. Forty-day averages of meteorological fields from the five waste heat experiments and from three control cases are compared. Model variability is estimated on the basis of the three control cases. The regional and hemispheric responses of the atmospheric circulation are discussed, with emphasis on the magnitude of the heating rates and 500 mb height changes. The main conclusions that can be drawn are that the model exhibits a nonlinear response to the waste heat input and that, in middle latitudes, the spatial scale of the response is large even though the heat input scale is small.

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