Radiation and the Irreversible Thermodynamics of Climate

Christopher Essex Canadian Climate Centre, AES, Downsview, Ontario M3H 5T4, Canada

Search for other papers by Christopher Essex in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Full access

Abstract

Attempts to link the theory of irreversible thermodynamics to the study of climate have utilized an entity which has been identified as the entropy production rate. However, this entity does not properly account for irreversibility due to the interaction of the radiation field with matter, that is, changes in the entropy of the radiation field, which cannot in general be properly described by the thermodynamic relations, are not accounted for. Calculations show that the entity used in these attempts deviates substantially from the correct rate of entropy production, both in terms of magnitude and sensitivity.

Abstract

Attempts to link the theory of irreversible thermodynamics to the study of climate have utilized an entity which has been identified as the entropy production rate. However, this entity does not properly account for irreversibility due to the interaction of the radiation field with matter, that is, changes in the entropy of the radiation field, which cannot in general be properly described by the thermodynamic relations, are not accounted for. Calculations show that the entity used in these attempts deviates substantially from the correct rate of entropy production, both in terms of magnitude and sensitivity.

Save