In a year how much energy does civilization produce? How does it compare with the energy generated by hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, solar flares or other natural events?
Strictly speaking, does it “produce” any, or simply convert/release it from some other form?
Produce, or consume? Different numbers. But if “produce”, about somewhere between 5-6 x 10[sup]20[/sup]J, the “latest” figures are a couple years out of date.
Let’s say both produce and consume, and how it compares to the energy of natural disasters.
Hurricanes are on the order of 100s of trillions of watts (J/s) each, and last for around a day or a bit more - so, in the scores of Exajoules (EJ - quintillions or 10[sup]18[/sup] of Joules) - let’s say 50 EJ total for an average one.
Really big earthquakes are around several EJ (in 1 minute or so).
Really big volcanic eruptions are also in the Exajoule range - the biggest we know of was 1,050 EJ but for an idea of scale, Mt St Helens was 0.1 EJ but was very quick, something like the current Kilauea eruption is more like the latter than the former, but with long-term energy output. A rough average of 60 volcanoes erupt each year.
So these are a couple of orders of magnitude less than the total energy production figure given above (except for that supervolcano), but there are many hurricanes/cyclones/typhoons, earthquakes and volcanoes, and that’s not counting other storms, monsoons and the like. I think as a rough guess, total terrestrial disaster energy is probably a a couple orders of magnitude greater than human power output
If you want to add solar flares into it, that becomes a certainty - an average flare is 10[sup]20[/sup]J, a big one 10[sup]25[/sup]J :eek: