New science lays another problem at climate change’s feet, with Earth retaining more than twice as much heat annually as 15 years ago
A team from NASA and NOAA have recently found that Earth’s “energy imbalance” had doubled between the years of 2005 and 2019. The energy imbalance of heat within the planet is simple to understand but is complex in its causes and impacts upon the climate. It is the difference between the amount of energy that is absorbed by Earth and the amount of energy that is emitted by it.
Any increase in the energy imbalance of the planet means the overall Earth system is gaining energy, which is causing it to heat up.
This comes after Health Secretary Sajid Javid will make an announcement later on the self-isolation changes within England for those who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. He also said that daily cases of infections “could go as high as 100,000” when coronavirus restrictions were fully lifted.
To quantify this change, the team had used data from two separate sources, both NASA’s Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES), as well as a system run by NOAA called Argo. CERES specializes in how much energy is recorded to be entering and leaving the planet.
Most of the energy that is entering is in the form of solar radiation, while energy that is leaving the system could take a variety of forms, some of which include some of that solar the same radiation bouncing off of white clouds.
Argo, on the other hand, estimates the rate of the temperature increase for the planet’s oceans. 90% of the energy that is absorbed by the Earth system is absorbed into its oceans, so any significant energy imbalance of Earth would be seen as the heating up of the planet’s oceans.
Data from both of the sensing platforms pointed to the same conclusions; that the Earth was absorbing more energy than it had been emitting, that energy is then stored by the planet’s oceans, and the annual amount of energy which is stored has increased dramatically within the recent past. All of these findings have important implications for future understandings of climate change, as well as for coming up with strategies to cope with it.
First, understanding what has caused the increase in absorbed heat in order to potentially mitigate it within the near future would be helpful. The researchers cite two main causes for the increasing energy imbalance.
This comes after the school bubble system in England is being scrapped and only those who have tested positive for COVID-19 will have to self-isolate. The education secretary said he recognised the school isolation bubble system is causing disruption to many children.
First was a decrease in both sea ice and clouds, the white surfaces of which can increase the planet’s albedo and therefore the amount of energy that can be reflected back out into space from the Earth. Some of that decrease in the planet’s cloud coverage had been caused by what is known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
In the middle of the survey period, a warm phase of this cloud-decreasing oscillation took hold, which then caused a widespread reduction within Earth’s cloud coverage, and thus lower albedo.
The second cause had been an increase in both the planet’s greenhouse gases caused by human emissions and water vapour, which can prevent many specific types of radiation from escaping the Earth’s atmosphere, increasing the overall energy within the system. So our own emissions are making it harder for the heat to escape from the Earth.