Special issue |
Thermodynamics and optimality in the Earth system and its subsystems (ESD/HESS inter-journal SI)(ESD/HESS inter-journal SI)
Editor(s): A. Kleidon, P. Cox, H. Savenije, E. Zehe, M. Crucifix, and S. Hergarten
Special issue jointly organized between Earth System Dynamics and Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
This special issue aims to bring together contributions from different disciplines of the Earth system to describe and demonstrate the importance of thermodynamics and related thermodynamic optimality principles (such as maximum entropy production, maximum power/dissipation, and minimum energy expenditure) in understanding and predicting the behavior, organization, and evolution of thermodynamic Earth systems. Contributions may include manuscripts of more theoretical nature that describe the general relationship of thermodynamics and optimality to the complexity and evolution of Earth systems, and manuscripts that describe applications of thermodynamic approaches to atmospheric and hydrologic sciences as well as human impacts and habitable environments.
In this study, we develop a topographic index explaining hydrological similarity within a energy-centered framework, with the observation that the majority of potential energy is dissipated when rainfall becomes runoff.
Natural systems evolve towards a state of maximum power, including estuarine circulation. The energy of lighter fresh water drives circulation, while it dissipates by friction. This rotational flow causes the spread of salinity, which is represented by the dispersion coefficient. In this paper, the maximum power concept provides a new equation for this coefficient. Together with the steady-state equation, this results in a new analytical model for density-driven salinity intrusion.
We tried to represent atmospheric convection induced by radiative forcing with a simple climate model based on maximum entropy production. Contrary to previous models, we give a minimal description of energy transport in the atmosphere. It allows us to give better results in terms of temperature and vertical energy flux profiles.
Turbulent fluxes represent an efficient way to transport heat and moisture from the surface into the atmosphere. Due to their inherently highly complex nature, they are commonly described by semiempirical relationships. What we show here is that these fluxes can also be predicted by viewing them as the outcome of a heat engine that operates between the warm surface and the cooler atmosphere and that works at its limit.
In this study we explore the role of spatially distributed information on hydrological modeling. For that, we develop and test an approach which draws upon information theory and thermodynamic reasoning. We show that the proposed set of methods provide a powerful framework for understanding and diagnosing how and when process organization and functional similarity of hydrological systems emerge in time and, hence, when which landscape characteristic is important in a model application.
This paper presents a new equation for the dispersion of salinity in alluvial estuaries based on the maximum power concept. The new equation is physically based and replaces previous empirical equations. It is very useful for application in practice because in contrast to previous methods it no longer requires a calibration parameter, turning the method into a predictive method. The paper presents successful applications in more than 23 estuaries in different parts of the world.