A curious essay | watts with it?

Guest article by Willis Eschenbach et al.

Here is the draft of the essay:


The climate is a complex and dynamic system regulated by a multitude of interconnected processes, feedback loops and emergent phenomena. Among these, one of the most intriguing and influential is the role of thunderstorms in regulating temperature. Thunderstorms are not only a spectacular natural phenomenon, but also a key driver of the Earth’s climate through their ability to transport heat, moisture and energy through the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface. In this Review, I will study the mechanisms and effects of thunderstorms on climate, highlighting their formation characteristics and their interaction with other factors such as greenhouse gases, aerosols, and land-use change.

Thunderstorms and temperature regulation

Thunderstorms are formed by the convection of warm, moist air rising from the surface and cooling as it rises, releasing latent heat and moisture. This process creates a vertical temperature and humidity gradient that can trigger the formation of cumulus clouds, followed by the development of thunderclouds and lightning. Thunderstorms are the result of the atmospheric instability that arises from the contrast between the warm, moist air at the surface and the colder, drier air at altitude, creating a buoyancy force that drives convection.

One of the critical functions of thunderstorms is to transport heat from the surface to the upper atmosphere, where it can be radiated back into space. This cooling effect is essential for the temperature regulation of the earth’s atmosphere, which would otherwise become significantly warmer. Thunderstorms are also responsible for spreading heat and moisture across the surface through the process of precipitation, which can vary in intensity and spatial distribution depending on local conditions. In this way, thunderstorms can both cool and warm the earth’s surface, depending on location and timing.

Another crucial aspect of thunderstorms is their ability to create atmospheric waves that can travel long distances and change the temperature and pressure patterns of the atmosphere. These waves can interact with other factors such as jet streams, ocean currents, and large-scale weather patterns to create complex feedback loops that regulate climate. For example, thunderstorms in the tropics can generate waves that travel to the poles and affect the formation of polar vortices, which can have a significant impact on mid-latitude weather patterns.

Emergent characteristics of thunderstorms

One of the most fascinating aspects of thunderstorms is their nascent properties, which result from the complex interactions between their components. Thunderstorms are not just the sum of their parts, but also a product of the feedback loops and nonlinear dynamics that determine their behavior. For example, thunderstorms can create their own wind patterns that can create downdrafts and updrafts that strengthen or weaken convection. These wind patterns can also interact with other thunderstorms and weather systems to create complex circulation and precipitation patterns.

Another outstanding property of thunderstorms is their ability to produce lightning, which is not only a spectacular visual display but also a crucial source of energy and ionization for the atmosphere. Lightning can break down molecules and produce reactive species such as ozone and nitrogen oxides, which can affect atmospheric chemistry and radiative balance. Lightning can also create acoustic waves that propagate through the atmosphere and can affect cloud formation and precipitation.

Coming back to the title, what is strange about this essay?

Well, the essay was written entirely by ChatGPT in response to my query, namely:

Write a detailed essay on emerging climate phenomena that regulate temperature, and mention thunderstorms in the style of Willis Eschenbach’s writings at wattsupwiththat.com

I haven’t changed a word of it. Imagine that…

Best wishes to all,



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