Working at the limit: How thermodynamics shapes the Earth system

Name of the Speaker:  Dr. Axel Kleidon

Title of the Seminar:  Working at the limit: How thermodynamics shapes the Earth system

Date and Time: 30 March 2023 (Thursday), 4:00pm

Online Platform: MS Teams (link to the video of the seminar)

About the Speaker: Axel Kleidon studied physics and meteorology at the University of Hamburg and Purdue University, Indiana, USA. He received his doctorate in 1998 from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology on the influence of deep-rooted vegetation on the climate system. He subsequently conducted research at Stanford University in California and at the University of Maryland. Since 2006, he has led the independent research group “Theory and Modeling of the Biosphere” at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany. His research interests range from the thermodynamics of the Earth system to the natural limits of renewable energy sources.

Abstract:  Earth system processes perform work to maintain motion, cycles and metabolisms – an aspect that is not commonly considered.  In this talk I will show how thermodynamics plays a central role in the Earth system, determining how and how much work can be extracted from sunlight.  Work, in turn, is a major constraint on dynamics, from atmospheric motion to hydrologic cycling and the global biosphere.  I show that by maximizing work we can describe highly complex Earth system processes in a relatively simple way.  I use examples from the atmospheric circulation, hydrology and terrestrial ecosystems to illustrate this approach and its utility for Earth system science.

Date(s) - 30/03/2023
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research (ICWaR) - IISc Bangalore