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Climate changes; Earth’s energy imbalance roughly doubled over 14-year

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Due to this extra energy stored on the earth, the temperature is increasing, which can have serious consequences in the future.

Ground Report | New Delhi: The researchers found that the Earth’s energy imbalance roughly doubled over the 14-year period from 2005 to 2019. The Earth’s climate is determined by a delicate balance between the amount of radiant energy from the Sun absorbed in the atmosphere and at the surface and the amount of thermal infrared radiation that the Earth emits into space. 

A positive energy imbalance means that the Earth system is gaining energy, causing the planet to heat up. The doubling of the energy imbalance is the subject of a recent study, the results of which were published on June 15, 2021, in Geophysical Research Letters.

Scientists from NASA and NOAA compared data from two independent measurements. NASA’s Cloud Satellite Sensor Suite and Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) measure the amount of energy entering and leaving the Earth’s system. Additionally, data from a global network of ocean floats, called Argo, allows an accurate estimate of the rate at which the world’s oceans are warming. Since about 90 percent of the excess energy from an energy imbalance ends up in the ocean, the overall trends in incoming and outgoing radiation should be generally consistent with changes in the ocean’s heat content.


“The two very independent ways of looking at changes in the Earth’s energy imbalance agree very, very well, and both show this great trend, which gives us a lot of confidence that what we are seeing is a real phenomenon. and not just an instrumental artifact, “said Norman Loeb, lead author of the study and principal investigator for CERES at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. “The trends we found were quite alarming in a way. “

Increased emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane due to human activity traps heat in the atmosphere, capturing outgoing radiation that would otherwise escape into space. Warming causes other changes, such as melting snow and ice, as well as increased water vapor and changes in clouds that can further increase warming. Earth’s energy imbalance is the net effect of all these factors. To determine the main factors causing the imbalance, the researchers used a method that examined changes in clouds, water vapor, the combined contributions of trace gases and sunlight output, surface albedo (the amount reflected light from the Earth’s surface). ,

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The study reveals that the doubling of the imbalance is in part the result of an increase in greenhouse gases due to human activity, also known as anthropogenic forcing, as well as the increase in water vapor that traps more outgoing long-wave radiation. , further contributing to the energy imbalance of the Earth. In addition, the associated decrease in clouds and sea ice results in greater absorption of solar energy.

Earth’s energy imbalance roughly; Norman Loeb, a scientist at NASA and the lead researcher associated with this research, told that the rate of increase in the amount of energy the Earth is storing is unprecedented. According to him, the two methods used to measure the energy imbalance are showing similar results, which leads to the belief that the increasing energy imbalance is a real phenomenon and not a hypothetical one. The researchers used satellite data and ocean sensor systems to measure energy imbalances.

The researchers also found that a change in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) from a cold phase to a warm phase likely played an important role in intensifying the energy imbalance. The PDO is a model of climate variability in the Pacific. Its footprint includes a huge wedge of water in the eastern Pacific going through hot and cold phases. This natural internal variability of the Earth system can have dramatic effects on weather and climate. An extremely hot DOP phase that began around 2014 and continued through 2020 led to a widespread reduction in cloud cover over the ocean and a corresponding increase in solar radiation absorption.

“It’s probably a mix of anthropogenic forcing and internal variability,” Loeb said. “And during that time, they both cause warming, which causes a pretty big change in the energy imbalance on Earth. The scale of the increase is unprecedented.:

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Earth’s energy imbalance roughly; The biggest question is why this imbalance is occurring in the energy budget of the Earth. According to the researchers, this is happening due to the increase in the amount of gases like carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere. The amount of which is increasing in the atmosphere due to human activities. These gases capture the heat in the atmosphere and block the outgoing radiation. Because of which he could not go back to space.

According to research, one reason for this is the increase in water vapor and the decrease in clouds and sea ice, which reflect the rays coming from the sun, but due to their decrease, this is not happening.

Scientists believe that this can have serious consequences. Due to this extra energy stored on the earth, the temperature is increasing. 90 percent of this is warming the oceans, while the rest is adding to the heat in the land and air, due to which the ice stored in the glacier is melting. According to research, if the rate of increase in temperature is not reduced in the coming years, then due to this some major changes in the climate can occur.

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