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Energy balance: Earth stores nearly twice as much heat as in 2005

Energy balance: Earth stores nearly twice as much heat as in 2005

The amount of energy used in Land The stockpile nearly doubled in just 14 years, according to a report by experts from the US space and ocean authorities NASA and NOAA in a study in Fachmagazin “Geophysical Research Letters”. This amplifies the rise in global temperature.

The cause is likely a combination of man-made factors and natural fluctuations, said NASA researcher Norman Loeb, who led the study. Both factors favored warming and thus contribute to the energy imbalance. The scale of the increase is “unprecedented”.

Most of the heat is stored in the oceans

Climate on Earth depends, among other things, on the amount of heat radiation emitted by the sun absorbed by the atmosphere, soil, and oceans and the amount of emissions that are emitted back into space as thermal infrared radiation. He writes, “A positive energy imbalance means the Earth system is absorbing energy, causing the planet to warm.” NASA.

For the study, experts evaluated satellite data for Earth’s thermal radiation and information from the Argo program from 2005 to 2019. Since 2000, Argo has used a fleet of robots to record temperatures, salinity and currents in the world’s oceans, among other things.

Since the oceans absorb almost the entire amount of energy from the imbalance on Earth, the amounts of heat captured by satellites are reflected in temperature changes in the oceans. “The two independent perspectives agree very well,” Loeb says. This shows that this is a real phenomenon.

A snapshot of long-term climate change

Higher amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increasingly reduce the heat radiation that Earth can return to space. The resulting warming of the Earth in turn causes the ice to melt and affects the formation of clouds, which also affects the climate. Since 2005, the amount of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere has increased.

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At the same time, the phenomenon of natural weather has developed in PacificThe researchers report that the so-called Pacific Decade Oscillation (PDO), has shifted from a colder phase to a warmer phase, and the energy imbalance continues to develop in an excess trend. Since about 2014, PDO has reduced cloud cover over the ocean, absorbing more solar radiation.

In this regard, the work is a snapshot, Loeb explained. It is not possible to predict with certainty how the Earth’s energy balance will develop in the coming decades. If the amount of energy absorbed by the Earth does not decrease, then much greater climate change than what has already occurred can be expected.