This Is Just One Outcome Of The Total Energy Imbalance Faced On Earth
According to a new study published today in the journal Environmental Research: Climate, the imbalance of energy on Earth is the most crucial indicator of the extent and consequences of climate change.
Kevin Trenberth, a renowned researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and Lijing Cheng, a climate scientist and co-author, have created a new comprehensive inventory of all the different sources of surplus heat on Earth.
In order to identify the imbalance, he looked at energy changes in the climate system’s components of the atmosphere, ocean, land, and ice from 2000 to 2019. He then compared these changes to radiation at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere.
According to Trenberth, “the net energy imbalance is calculated by looking at how much heat is absorbed from the Sun and how much is able to radiate back into space. It is not yet possible to measure the imbalance directly, the only practical way to estimate it is through an inventory of the changes in energy.”
To understand and thus manage the climate catastrophe, it is essential to comprehend the net energy gain of the climate system from all sources, how much extra energy there is, and where it is redistributed in the Earth system.
Historically, climate science has focused on the increase of the global mean surface temperature. However, this is only one manifestation of Earth’s overall energy imbalance.
Excess energy has an impact on weather systems, increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as heavy rains and flooding, hurricanes, droughts, heat waves, and wildfires.
In addition to affecting the worldwide rise in temperature, weather events help the climate system get rid of excess energy by radiating it into space, which is influenced by the global temperature rise.
The study also found that 93 percent of the extra heat from the imbalance ends up in the Earth’s oceans. This makes the oceans hotter and raises the sea level, which makes 2021 the year with the hottest oceans ever recorded.
“Modelling the Earth energy imbalance is challenging,” adds Lijing Cheng, co-author of the study, “and the relevant observations and their synthesis need improvements.”
The co-author continues: “Understanding how all forms of energy are distributed across the globe and are sequestered or radiated back to space will give us a better understanding of our future.”
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