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How the Earth Regulates Temperature: The Thermostat Hypothesis (Peer Reviewed)

June 13, 2012

Abstract

The Thermostat Hypothesis is that tropical clouds and thunderstorms actively regulate the temperature of the earth. This keeps the earth at a equilibrium temperature.

Several kinds of evidence are presented to establish and elucidate the Thermostat Hypothesis – historical temperature stability of the Earth, theoretical considerations, satellite photos, and a description of the equilibrium mechanism.

Here is a view of the entire system that transports heat from the tropics to the poles.

Willis_Image1

Figure 1. The Earth as a Heat Engine. The equatorial Hadley Cells provide the power for the system. Over the tropics, the sun (orange arrows) is strongest because it hits the earth most squarely. The length of the orange arrows shows relative sun strength. Warm dry air descends at about 30N and 30S, forming the great desert belts that circle the globe. Heat is transported by a combination of the ocean and the atmosphere to the poles. At the poles, the heat is radiated to space.

In other words, flow systems such as the Earth’s climate do not assume a stable temperature willy-nilly. They reshape their own flow in such a way as to maximize the energy produced and consumed. It is this dynamic process, and not a simple linear transformation of the details of the atmospheric gas composition, which sets the overall working temperature range of the planet.

Read the whole fascinating foundation of a new peer-reviewed paper here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/14/the-thermostat-hypothesis/

More is here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/24/willis-publishes-his-thermostat-hypothesis-paper/

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