Climate change: earth’s energy imbalance is getting stronger

Climate change: earth's energy imbalance is getting stronger

The Earth has stored significantly more warmth than it has given off over the past 14 years. Between 2005 and 2019, the Earth’s energy imbalance nearly doubled, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This trend is mainly due to the fact that solar radiation is less reflected by clouds and sea ice. At the same time, long-wave radiation from Earth into space has decreased, in part because of more greenhouse gases, he said.

Human and natural factors combined to cause warming, leading to gross shift in Earth’s energy imbalance. The Ausmab is at spiellos, said the head of the study, Norman Loeb according to the release "The trends we have found are in some ways quite alarming."

NASA and NOAA researchers compared data from two independent sets: observations from the satellite-based Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) and from the Argo ocean buoy fleet. Researchers studied changes in clouds, water vapor, trace gases and light output from the sun, surface albedo, aerosols and changes in surface and atmospheric temperature distribution. The data of both measuring systems showed rough agreement.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation on top of that

Increasing emissions of gases such as CO2 and methane from human activity are boosting the greenhouse effect and trapping reflected radiation that would otherwise escape into space, research teams explain. Warming, in turn, leads to snow and ice melt, increased water vapor concentrations that can further increase warming.

The energy imbalance caused by humans could have been favoured by a natural climatic phenomenon during the study period, the researchers write further. A warm phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation began in 2014.

Loeb points out that the study is a snapshot of long-term climate change; it cannot be predicted with certainty how trends will continue in the coming decades. It can be said, however, that if the earth’s heat uptake does not decrease, major climate changes are to be expected.

The study was published in the Geophysical Research Letters . In March of this year, researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center first presented direct observations as evidence of the Earth’s energy imbalance. In a climate impact and risk analysis, the German Federal Environment Agency recently explained how climate change could affect Germany.

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