Earth’s energy imbalance has doubled

Earth's energy imbalance has doubled

Researchers have found that in the 14-year period from 2005 to 2019, the Earth’s energy imbalance doubled.

The Earth’s climate is determined by the subtle balance between the sun’s radiant energy absorbed by the atmosphere and the surface and the amount of infrared heat radiation emitted by the Earth in space. Positive energy imbalance is when the Earth system receives energy and thus warms the planet. Doubling the energy imbalance is the subject of a recent study, the results of which were released on June 15, 2021 Geophysical Research Letters.

Scientists from NASA and NOAA compared the data from two independent measurements. The Cloud and Satellite Radiation Energy System (CERES) satellite sensor set measures the amount of energy entering and leaving the Earth’s system. In addition, data from global ocean floats, known as Arco, allow an accurate estimate of the rate at which global oceans are warming. When 90 percent of the excess energy from the energy imbalances reaches the ocean, the general trends of incoming and outgoing radiation must broadly adapt to changes in ocean heat content.

“The two independent ways of looking at changes in the Earth’s energy imbalance very well agree, both of which show this tremendous trend, which gives us a lot of confidence that what we are seeing is a real phenomenon.” . “The trends we have identified are somewhat dangerous.”

The increase in greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide and methane due to human activity captures heat in the atmosphere, otherwise catching radiation escaping into space. Heat causes heat changes such as the melting of ice and ice, as well as changes in rising steam and clouds. The energy imbalance of the earth is the net result of all these factors. To determine the main factors contributing to the imbalance, investigators used a method explored as changes in clouds, water vapor, the combined contributions of trace gases, and sunlight emission, surface albedo (the amount of light reflected from the Earth’s surface), and small aerial particles. Changes in the temperature distribution of aerosols and on the surface and in the atmosphere.

Doubling the imbalance The increase in greenhouse gases due to human activity, also known as anthropogenic compulsion, as well as the increase in vapor captures long-wave radiation, and also contributes to the Earth’s energy imbalance. In addition, the associated decrease in clouds and sea ice leads to greater absorption of solar energy.

The researchers also found that the transition of the Pacific Decade of Plot (PDO) from a cold phase to a warm phase played a key role in increasing energy imbalance. PDO is a model of Pacific climate variability. Its footprint covers a large wedge in the eastern Pacific, which passes through cold and warm phases. This natural internal variation of the Earth’s structure can have dramatic effects on weather and climate. The hottest PTO phase, which lasted from 2014 to 2020, led to a large reduction in cloud cover at sea and an increase in the absorption of solar radiation.

“It’s probably a combination of anthropological compulsion and internal diversity,” Lope said. “At the moment, both are causing global warming, which is causing a huge shift in the Earth’s energy balance. The rate of growth is unprecedented.”

Loeb warns that this study is only a snapshot of long-term climate change and cannot accurately predict what the next decades will look like for a balanced energy budget. Earth. However, the study concludes that if the rate of heat absorption does not decrease, more climate change is expected than is already happening.

“The extension and completeness of the Arco and Ceres records allowed us to identify with increasing accuracy the Earth’s energy imbalance and to study its variations and trends over time with increasing perspective.” To understand climate change it is necessary to look at the magnitude and variability of these energy imbalances. “

Note: Norman G. Lope, Gregory c. Johnson, Tyler J. Thorson, John M. Lyman, Fred G. Rose, & CG Cutto, June 15, 2021, “Satellite and Ocean Data Reveal Significant Increase in Global Warming Rate” Geophysical Research Letters.
DOI: 10.1029 / 2021GL093047

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About the Author: Cary Douglas

Cary Douglas is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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