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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Atmospheric Energy Profile or Energy Urn

When I took the basic atmospheric temperature profile and showed it as a mirror image, the goal was to show an energy profile, the width of the figure proportional to the energy flux.   Well, one detractor said it looks like an urn. 
Well, I can do it this way and it looks kinda like a plumber's butt.  The Stratopause which is at about 0 C degrees and roughly 50 kilometers in altitude, "looks" like an isothermal "shell" that does not intersect the "surface".  The Mesopause "looks" like another isothermal "shell" that does not intersect any other isothermal "shell" or the "surface". 

This is not to scale of course, but the average Stratopause altitude is 50 kilometers meaning it would have an average surface area 1.016 times the area of the surface and the Mesopause an area 1.025 times the surface.  Energy radiated from the surface would need to be scaled downward and energy radiated from the Sun scaled upward if absorbed in either "shell".  That is a small adjustment at first glance, but 1.6% of 316 Wm-2 is 5 Wm-2, not insignificant with respect to an estimated 3.6 Wm-2 per doubling of CO2.

So what good are these "shells"?  Each represents a thermodynamic boundary layer.  Referencing temperatures to more than one "shell" should make it easier to determine the direction of energy flow.  Since solar warms the atmosphere and the surface, but the surface flow is out only, you may be able to pick out some of the less understood atmospheric interchanges.  The outer most "shell" the Turbopause is likely the most important.  It is the first layer that has little turbulent mixing.  For it to be so stable, the combined forces acting upon it have to be perfectly balanced.  While it is not shown on the modified atmospheric profile, the Turbopause is roughly located 100 km above the surface with ~99.9% of the mass of the atmosphere enclosed in this "shell". 

The purpose of modifying the atmospheric profile is to show what real radiant layers would look like.  Not "effective radiant layers" created by averaging the chaotic turmoil of the lower atmosphere. 

Now, consider again the Carnot Divider in this post.  It uses maximum and minimum temperature references to estimate maximum energy transfer efficiencies.  The Carnot Divider bounds the systems.  The sinks selected, -1.9 C the freezing point of salt water at 35g/kg and the 184k (65Wm-2) minimum atmospheric temperature are real boundary conditions that can be related to the real radiant shells and the real black body, the average ocean temperature of 4C thermocline.  No assumptions.

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