Ignacio Hermoso de Mendoza Naval

PhD candidate at UQAM

Supervisors: Dr. Hugo Beltrami & Dr. Laxmi Sushama
Enrolled in CREATE program in September 2014

Earth Energy Balance

In the context of a changing climate it has become necessary to examine in detail the energy exchanged among Earth Climate system energy reservoirs. Although a great proportion of the energy is located in the Earth 's oceans, the atmospheric and the continental components of the heat storage variations are quite comparable in magnitude and significant, as the atmosphere drives the climate of the Earth, and the continental surface provide the boundary conditions for the atmospheric heat engine.

General Circulation Models (GCMs) are used to simulate the historic and the future state of the climate system, however, these models have evolved from early weather prediction models. As the temperature perturbations in the soil surface propagate slowly into the subsurface, for time scales on the order of days, shallow soil model components are adequate. As the GCMs were developed, they kept this characteristic and just the upper layers, relevant to the chemical and water flows, were consider. However, in the millennial time scales characteristic of climate change, temperature perturbations in the surface propagate to much deeper soil than the considered in most of the models.

The work of this project will consist of attempting a complete characterization of the role of the continental subsystem in the heat storage, which can potentially affect the distribution of heat storage in through the different subsystems and therefore a wide variety of sensitive mechanisms in climate change. For doing this, we want to determine the effect of the bottom boundary condition placement, which marks the depth of soil considered in a model, for the heat storage. With this, we expect to be able to develop more realistic soil models which may allow better long scale climate simulations. We also want to study the impact of the different mechanisms affecting the relationship between the surface air temperature and the ground surface temperature, such as vegetation or snow cover, in the global and long time scale of climate change as they will have an appreciable impact in the propagation of the air temperature changes underground.