Climate change affects us all and today we see consequences of global warming more than ever. As our population increases and more countries industrialise, atmospheric pollution increases. Our climate is already congested by industry. Any reductions in CO2 emissions mean that we will still continue to make it worse, just little slower.
Global warming is a climatic process and is real.
But how does the climate works?
Earth’s temperature is the result of two processes of heat transfer. Solar radiation heats up our planet which is also simultaneously cooled by radiation to space from the Earth. Part of the solar radiation is absorbed by the rocks and oceans of the earth, some by green life, and some by the atmosphere. The rest radiates back into space. The temperature of the globe depends to a large extent on the amount of heat trapped in the atmosphere. There is one factor that changes the amount of solar radiation absorbed by our planet: the presence of greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by society. These gases trap the heat, raising the global temperature and causing the global warming.
Is the global warming real?
Secondly, we need to understand how the increase in heat affects our planet and its climate. Oceans and polar ice caps cover most of the Earth’s surface. This is the water that occurs in two states – liquid and solid. The rise in temperature of the earth causes ice to melt.
According to the principles of thermodynamics, there is no temperature change during the change of state. This means that the temperature of the water and ice mixture will not increase if we heat it. All energy supplied will be used to melt the ice. And the water temperature will increase only when all the ice is melted. Part of the heat supplied to the mix will also be consumed by convective movements, conveying warm water towards the ice and cold towards the heat source.
Explaining this in regards to a simple example of a glass of water with ice cubes. The water temperature will be 0 degrees Celsius and if we start to heat it, all heat will be used to melt the ice. The water temperature will only increase after all of the ice melts.
The earth is slightly larger and somewhat more complicated than a glass of ice water, but the same principle applies. Most of the light reaches the ground in the tropical zone which produces most of the heat. And the wind and sea currents distribute produced heat throughout the world. The earth is warmer on the equator than on the poles. The greater the difference, the stronger the winds will spread through the planet.
Heat powers up Earth’s climate
Climate works like a motor that needs heat to operate, and the more energy it has, the faster it works. Heat powers up all weathers processes such as wind, snow and rain. So the more heat retained by the planet, the more energy our climate has. It does not have to mean that the wind or rain will be warmer. Global warm and cold air circulates heat throughout the planet. So if wind currents shift a large amount of hot air from the equator towards the poles, the same volume of cold air must go to another location. This means that global warming can cause hot droughts in one place and heavy snowfalls in another. This is why increasing numbers and strength of cyclones, floods, snow storms and droughts make global warming most evident.
The increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases improves its insulating properties. They will stay there for a long time, and their repeated absorption by the global ecosystem will last for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years. This makes climate change permanent.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions does not mean stopping the process of global warming. The greenhouse gases that cause the problems are already there. So if we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we will only slow down the entire process, but the situation will get worse anyway.
The only way to reverse climate change is to develop technologies that will not only dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also absorb excess heat retained by the atmosphere.
The power of the hydrological cycle.
The hydrological cycle is a powerful and important process of our planet. It shows how water, with the help of heat accumulated in the atmosphere, circulates between land, oceans and atmosphere. It makes water evaporate, create clouds and moves them over long distances. Then condense and fall as rain or snow, feeding rivers, streams and groundwater.
The energy, that our planet uses, to evaporate water and produce clouds is very important here. It may seem that an ordinary cloud is an insignificant cloud of water vapour. Average-sized cumulus cloud could contain as much as 200 tonnes of water, while ordinary cumulonimbus could weigh as much as one million tonnes. So it is often a mass of water in the order of millions of tons, which has been raised to a height of seven kilometres or even more, only through the thermal processes of our atmosphere. A few sunny days and a temperature change of a few degrees, it is often enough to create a storm cloud containing millions of tons of water, floating many kilometres above the ground.
If the water contained in the clouds, was to be condensed and dumped on the turbine of the power plant, from such a high altitude, it would produce huge amounts of electric energy. Refrigerant-based power plant bases its principle of operation on this phenomenon. More precisely, on the thermodynamics of weather processes. So, where, with small temperature changes, a huge mass can be lifted on a high altitude. And then dropped on the turbine of the power plant to generate electricity.