Saturday, August 15, 2009

earth heat loss and gain

Geophysics is so freaking cool.

We have in our skin, especially our hands, sensitivity to infrared (long wavelength) light.

"Also, water holds heat much better than does air. See the experiment below. Because of this property, a three meter layer of the surface ocean (about 10 feet thick) can hold as much heat as the entire overlying atmosphere (roughly 10 km thick). "

Off New York City if you take a steamer headed to Europe, you will see the edge of the Gulf Stream clearly as a distinct zone where the cold greenish water of the Labrador current, closest to shore, gives way to the warm blue water of the Gulf Stream.

Notice that on the western side of the Atlantic at about 50 degrees latitude we have Canada and Greenland with subpolar, cold, climates. At the same latitude on the eastern side of the Atlantic we have Ireland, Great Britain and lower Scandinavia all of which have mild climates. The difference is the Gulf Stream and the tremendous amounts of heat it transports northeastward to the higher latitude atmosphere.

he Gulf Stream changed its travel path considerably as the subtropical gyre shrunk and shifted southward. The result was that the heat pump carried its load more eastward than northward It locked heat closer to the equator, which underwent little glacial age cooling. But this set up isolated the higher latitudes and deprived them of their heat supply. So, large sections of the northern continents cooled and froze. Huge ice sheets spread over the land (imagine an ice layer a mile thick, as modern interpretations suggest) and sufficient ice to drop sea-level by over 100 meters.

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