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Present and Last Glacial Maximum climates as states of maximum entropy production

Abstract : The Earth, like other planets with a relatively thick atmosphere, is not locally in radiative equilibrium and the transport of energy by the geophysical fluids (atmosphere and ocean) plays a fundamental role in determining its climate. Using simple energy-balance models, it was suggested a few decades ago that the meridional energy fluxes might follow a thermodynamic Maximum Entropy Production (MEP) principle. In the present study, we assess the MEP hypothesis in the framework of a minimal climate model based solely on a robust radiative scheme and the MEP principle, with no extra assumptions. Specifically, we show that by choosing an adequate radiative exchange formulation, the Net Exchange Formulation, a rigorous derivation of all the physical parameters can be performed. The MEP principle is also extended to surface energy fluxes, in addition to meridional energy fluxes. The climate model presented here is extremely fast, needs very little empirical data and does not rely on ad hoc parameterizations. We investigate its range of validity by comparing its performances for pre-industrial climate and Last Glacial Maximum climate with corresponding simulations with the IPSL coupled atmosphere-ocean General Circulation Model IPSL_CM4, finding reasonable agreement. Beyond the practical interest of this result for climate modelling, it supports the idea that, to a certain extent, climate can be characterized with macroscale features with no need to compute the underlying microscale dynamics.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 4:24:51 PM
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Corentin Herbert, Didier Paillard, Masa Kageyama, Bérengère Dubrulle. Present and Last Glacial Maximum climates as states of maximum entropy production. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Wiley, 2011, 137 (657), pp.1059-1069. ⟨10.1002/qj.832⟩. ⟨cea-00917319⟩

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