"Messing with Mother Nature: The Natural Energy Cycle, Greenhouse Gases and Geoengineering", Thomas Ackerman (UW Atmos)

Start Date/Time: Thursday, October 22, 2009, 12:30 PM
Location: PAA 118 (Phys-Astro Auditorium)

Title:"Messing with Mother Nature: The Natural Energy Cycle, Greenhouse Gases and Geoengineering"
Speaker: Thomas Ackerman, UW Department of Atmospheric Sciences

UW Energy Future website: http://tinyurl.com/uwenergy
Live webcast: http://tinyurl.com/uwenergy-live

The fundamental driver of climate is the absorption of solar energy and the emission of infrared (heat) energy. While these two quantities balance globally, regional imbalances fuel both atmospheric and oceanic circulations. On earth, the radiant energy cycle is tightly coupled with the cycling of water among its three phases due to the high heat of vaporization of water. The balance between the energy and water cycles on both global and regional scales in an ongoing research focus of climate scientists. Humans have inadvertently altered the natural energy cycle by changing greenhouse gas concentrations and land surface properties. Now, in response to impending global warming, some are proposing geoengineering activities that would cool the planet by reflecting solar radiation back to space. Insight into the scale of greenhouse gas warming and geoengineering activities can be gained by considering the magnitude of the terms in the global energy balance and the uncertainty in our knowledge of these terms.