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Title: The Hydrological Sensitivity to Global Warming and Solar Geoengineering Derived from Thermodynamic Constraints

We derive analytic expressions of the transient response of the hydrological cycle to surface warming from an extremely simple energy balance model in which turbulent heat fluxes are constrained by the thermodynamic limit of maximum power. For a given magnitude of steady-state temperature change, this approach predicts the transient response as well as the steady-state change in surface energy partitioning and the hydrologic cycle. We show that the transient behavior of the simple model as well as the steady state hydrological sensitivities to greenhouse warming and solar geoengineering are comparable to results from simulations using highly complex models. Many of the global-scale hydrological cycle changes can be understood from a surface energy balance perspective, and our thermodynamically-constrained approach provides a physically robust way of estimating global hydrological changes in response to altered radiative forcing.
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Geophysical Research Letters, 42(1):138–144
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States