Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Study finds energy use in cities has global climate effects

29.01.2013
Researchers find that heat given off by metropolitan areas can lead to continental-scale winter warming in high latitudes

The heat generated by everyday energy consumption in metropolitan areas is significant enough to influence the character of major atmospheric circulation systems, including the jet stream during winter months, and cause continental-scale surface warming in high latitudes, according to a trio of climate researchers that includes Ming Cai, a professor in Florida State University's Department of Meteorology.

Led by Guang Zhang, a research meteorologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, the scientists report in the journal Nature Climate Change that waste heat released in major cities in the Northern Hemisphere causes as much as 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F) of continental-scale winter warming in high latitudes of the North America and Eurasian continents. They added that this effect helps to explain the disparity between actual observed warming in the last half-century and the amount of warming predicted by computer models that only include anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosols.

The study, "Energy Consumption and the Unexplained Winter Warming Over Northern Asia and North America," appears in online editions of the journal on Jan. 27. The study was funded in part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Program Office.

Cai, Zhang and Aixue Hu of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., considered the energy consumption — from heating buildings to powering vehicles — that generates waste heat release. The world's total energy consumption in 2006 was 16 terawatts (one terawatt equals 1 trillion watts). Of that, 6.7 terawatts were consumed in the 86 metropolitan areas considered in this study.

"The burning of fossil fuel not only emits greenhouse gases but also directly effects temperatures because of heat that escapes from sources like buildings and cars," Hu said.

The release of waste heat is different from energy that is naturally distributed in the atmosphere, the researchers noted. The largest source of heat, solar energy, warms the Earth's surface. Atmospheric circulations distribute that energy from one region to another. Human energy consumption distributes energy that remained dormant and sequestered for millions of years, mostly in the form of oil or coal. Though the amount of human-generated energy is a small portion of that transported by nature, it is highly concentrated in urban areas.

"The world's most populated metropolitan areas, which also have the highest rates of energy consumption, are along the east and west coasts of the North American and Eurasian continents, underneath the most prominent atmospheric circulation troughs and ridges," Cai said. "The concentrated and intensive release of waste energy in these areas causes a noticeable interruption to normal atmospheric circulation systems, leading to remote surface temperature changes far away from the regions where the waste heat is generated."

The authors report that the influence of urban heat can widen the jet stream at the extratropics, or area outside the tropics. They add that the heating is not uniform. Partially counterbalancing it, the changes in major atmospheric systems cool areas of Europe by as much as 1 degree C, with much of the temperature decrease occurring in the fall.

The study does not address whether the urban heating effect disrupts atmospheric weather patterns or plays a role in accelerating global warming, though Zhang said drawing power from renewable sources such as solar or wind provides a societal benefit in that it does not add net energy into the atmosphere.

Zhang said the climate impact this research studied is distinct from the so-called urban heat island effect, an increase in the warmth of cities compared to unpopulated areas caused by land use changes. Such island effects are mainly a function of the heat collected and re-radiated by pavement, buildings and other urban features.

"What we found is that energy use from multiple urban areas collectively can warm the atmosphere remotely, thousands of miles away from the energy consumption regions," Zhang said. "This is accomplished through atmospheric circulation change."

They also find observational evidence indicates that the waste heat can be the "missing forcing" that would account for the discrepancy between the observed temperature change and that is simulated in computer models forced only by anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosols. They suggest that the influence of energy consumption should be considered, in addition to heat-trapping gases and aerosols, as necessary anthropogenic factors in computer models to predict the future climate.

NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage the nation's coastal and marine resources.

Ming Cai | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fsu.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Die Brücke, die sich dehnen kann

Brücken verformen sich, daher baut man normalerweise Dehnfugen ein. An der TU Wien wurde eine Technik entwickelt, die ohne Fugen auskommt und dadurch viel Geld und Aufwand spart.

Wer im Auto mit flottem Tempo über eine Brücke fährt, spürt es sofort: Meist rumpelt man am Anfang und am Ende der Brücke über eine Dehnfuge, die dort...

Im Focus: Eine Frage der Dynamik

Die meisten Ionenkanäle lassen nur eine ganz bestimmte Sorte von Ionen passieren, zum Beispiel Natrium- oder Kaliumionen. Daneben gibt es jedoch eine Reihe von Kanälen, die für beide Ionensorten durchlässig sind. Wie den Eiweißmolekülen das gelingt, hat jetzt ein Team um die Wissenschaftlerin Han Sun (FMP) und die Arbeitsgruppe von Adam Lange (FMP) herausgefunden. Solche nicht-selektiven Kanäle besäßen anders als die selektiven eine dynamische Struktur ihres Selektivitätsfilters, berichten die FMP-Forscher im Fachblatt Nature Communications. Dieser Filter könne zwei unterschiedliche Formen ausbilden, die jeweils nur eine der beiden Ionensorten passieren lassen.

Ionenkanäle sind für den Organismus von herausragender Bedeutung. Wenn zum Beispiel Sinnesreize wahrgenommen, ans Gehirn weitergeleitet und dort verarbeitet...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Erste integrierte Schaltkreise (IC) aus Plastik

Erstmals ist es einem Forscherteam am Max-Planck-Institut (MPI) für Polymerforschung in Mainz gelungen, einen integrierten Schaltkreis (IC) aus einer monomolekularen Schicht eines Halbleiterpolymers herzustellen. Dies erfolgte in einem sogenannten Bottom-Up-Ansatz durch einen selbstanordnenden Aufbau.

In diesem selbstanordnenden Aufbauprozess ordnen sich die Halbleiterpolymere als geordnete monomolekulare Schicht in einem Transistor an. Transistoren sind...

Im Focus: Quantenbits per Licht übertragen

Physiker aus Princeton, Konstanz und Maryland koppeln Quantenbits und Licht

Der Quantencomputer rückt näher: Neue Forschungsergebnisse zeigen das Potenzial von Licht als Medium, um Informationen zwischen sogenannten Quantenbits...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industrie & Wirtschaft
Veranstaltungen

Digitalisierung auf dem Prüfstand: Hochkarätige Konferenz zu Empowerment in der agilen Arbeitswelt

20.02.2018 | Veranstaltungen

Aachener Optiktage: Expertenwissen in zwei Konferenzen für die Glas- und Kunststoffoptikfertigung

19.02.2018 | Veranstaltungen

Konferenz "Die Mobilität von morgen gestalten"

19.02.2018 | Veranstaltungen

VideoLinks
Wissenschaft & Forschung
Weitere VideoLinks im Überblick >>>
 
Aktuelle Beiträge

Highlight der Halbleiter-Forschung

20.02.2018 | Physik Astronomie

Wie verbessert man die Nahtqualität lasergeschweißter Textilien?

20.02.2018 | Materialwissenschaften

Der Bluthochdruckschalter in der Nebenniere

20.02.2018 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

Weitere B2B-VideoLinks
IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics