Journal article

Inferring global wind energetics from a simple Earth system model based on the principle of maximum entropy production

The question of total available wind power in the atmosphere is highly debated, as well as the effect large scale wind farms would have on the climate. Bottom-up approaches, such as those proposed by wind turbine engineers often lead to non-physical results (non-conservation of energy, mostly), while top-down approaches have proven to give physically consistent results. This paper proposes an original method for the calculation of mean annual wind energetics in the atmosphere, without resorting to heavy numerical integration of the entire dynamics. The proposed method is derived from a model based on the Maximum of Entropy Production (MEP) principle, which has proven to efficiently describe the annual mean temperature and energy fluxes, despite its simplicity. Because the atmosphere is represented with only one vertical layer and there is no vertical wind component, the model fails to represent the general circulation patterns such as cells or trade winds. However, interestingly, global energetic diagnostics are well captured by the mere combination of a simple MEP model and a flux inversion method.


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