Study Suggests Urban Waste Heat May Have Big Effect up to 1,000 Miles Away
January 28, 2013 12:54 PM
Despite having little impact on global mean temperatures, waste heat may alter weather significantly
A diverse team of researchers from
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California, San Diego
Florida State University
(FSU); and the
National Center for Atmospheric Research
(NCAR) have teamed up to examine the long term effects of
on local surroundings.
I. Waste Heat Shifts Temperature Balance
Urban heat originates from a variety of sources -- buildings with central heating, power plants, cars, and more. Human machines dump waste heat into the environment on a large scale locally. But globally waste heat is only estimated to account for around 0.3 percent of the total heat transported across higher latitudes by atmospheric or oceanic circulation, bumping temperatures by a mere 0.01 degrees C (about 0.02 degrees F).
"urban heat island" effect
-- local warming from waste heat -- is
. But the research team suspected that waste heat might have longer-range effects too, effects that might be masked by the global trend. They dug into the issue and developed models that suggest that waste may indeed have longer-range impact, in addition to the urban heat island effect.
The new, more detailed smaller-scale models show that waste heat from cities may heat up northern regions of North America and Asia by as much as 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in the winter. The heating effects can be felt up to 1,000 miles away from their source, the simulations showed. At the same time, the North American/Asian heating is coupled with a 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) cooling effect in Europe, which is forcing cooler winters.
Waste heat is warming North America and Asia's north, while cooling the European north.
[Image Source: Ecofriend]
comments, "The burning of fossil fuel not only emits greenhouse gases but also directly affects temperatures because of heat that escapes from sources like buildings and cars. Although much of this waste heat is concentrated in large cities, it can change atmospheric patterns in a way that raises or lowers temperatures across considerable distances."
II. What Can be Done?
Humans by and large produce much less waste heat than nature (respiration itself, the process by which living organisms harvest energetic chemicals to drive the processes of life, puts off a fair deal of waste heat). But many human cities happen to be located directly under jet stream troughs, which causes the localized impact to be amplified.
Globally in 2006 energy consumption globally was estimated to have occurred at an average of 16 terawatts (TW). The 86 largest metropolitan areas in the Northern Hemisphere are estimated to have consumed 6.7 TW of that total.
U.S. urban centers often sit under jet stream troughs. [Image Source: Blue Moon/Panoramio]
The study is arguably less about prevention, and more about understanding and coping with mankind's localized impact on weather/climate. After all, you can't reasonably ask people to turn off the heat in the winter or stop driving (even EVs put off waste heat).
But perhaps future urban expansion can be guided by models that place new construction in areas that suck less of the waste heat into the jet stream or alternatively suck up more in regions that are currently being cooled.
Additionally materials may be able to
recapture some waste heat
, decreasing the global output, while at the same time lowering costs. (But such materials are still in their very nascent stages.)
The study was
in the peer-reviewed journal
Nature Climate Change
UCAR [press release]
Nature Climate Change [abstract]
"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
New Alloy Creates Electricity from Waste Heat
June 27, 2011, 1:43 PM
New Material Can Convert 14 Percent of Waste Heat to Electricity
January 19, 2011, 7:53 PM
NOAA: Don't Believe Skeptics, Global Warming is "Undeniable"
August 5, 2010, 12:16 PM
Phil Jones Fights Accusations of Global Warming Research Wrongdoing
February 16, 2010, 9:36 AM
Debuted at CES 2017 - Corning Gorilla Glass Concept Car
January 7, 2017, 3:02 AM
Happy, healthy and feastive New Year to you and everyone in the world that about to celebrate the Season Holidays
January 1, 2017, 12:01 AM
In 2017, Here are the New Autos of 2018
December 30, 2016, 5:00 AM
What Happens When You Put a Blind Man in a Driverless Car?
December 14, 2016, 5:00 AM
Would You Like to Build Your Own BMW?
December 12, 2016, 5:00 AM
Jaguar I-PACE – Jaguar’s New Electric Concept / New SUV
November 16, 2016, 5:00 AM
Most Popular Articles
Super Hi- Vision Will Amaze the World
January 16, 2017, 9:53 AM
Samsung Chromebook Plus – Coming in February 2017
January 17, 2017, 12:01 AM
Samsung 2017 Handset’s Updates
January 17, 2017, 12:01 AM
Teclast Tbook X5 Pro - Coming January 23
January 16, 2017, 9:21 AM
Gionee Marathon M5 Plus – China’s Flagship Smartphone
January 15, 2017, 2:02 AM
Latest Blog Posts
What is new?
Jan 22, 2017, 7:00 AM
Nintendo signals end for Wii U
Jan 21, 2017, 7:00 AM
Jan 20, 2017, 7:00 AM
News of the World
Jan 19, 2017, 7:00 AM
News of the Day Wednesday 1/18/2017
Jan 18, 2017, 12:01 AM
Jan 17, 2017, 12:16 AM
News of the Day
Jan 16, 2017, 12:10 PM
News and Technology Advancement
Jan 16, 2017, 7:58 AM
Jan 15, 2017, 12:32 AM
Here is Some News
Jan 14, 2017, 12:39 AM
News: Improved and New products
Jan 13, 2017, 12:01 AM
News around the world
Jan 12, 2017, 12:01 AM
Rumors and Announcements
Jan 11, 2017, 12:01 AM
This year CES and ridiculous gadgets
Jan 10, 2017, 12:01 AM
Nokia Android phone spurns the west.
Jan 9, 2017, 12:08 AM
New at CES 2017 - Changhong 8K Super Slim TV 65ZHQ3R
Jan 8, 2017, 1:07 AM
Debuted at CES 2017 - Vuzix Blade 3000 Smart Sunglasses
Jan 8, 2017, 12:39 AM
Some news of Day
Jan 7, 2017, 12:01 AM
News 2017 CES
Jan 6, 2017, 12:01 AM
Here is the Latest News in Tech
Jan 5, 2017, 1:47 AM
AI Beats World’s Best at Chinese board game “Go”
Jan 4, 2017, 11:21 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information