Earth retains twice as much heat as it did 15 years ago


In the balance between energy absorbed and energy emitted by the Earth, that retained is growing. With consequences on the melting of the ice and the health of the seas

(photo: Arek Socha via Pixabay)

The Terra is always more warm and today holds the double the heat than it did about 15 years ago. The new data, yet another proof of climate changes in progress, they come from an analysis of the Nasa and of Noah (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in the United States. The studio, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letter, indicates that on the scales between absorbed and re-emitted energy the first is increasing and also significant: from 2004 to 2019 this imbalance has doubled by entity. In this case we speak of absorbed energy that comes from the Sole and energy being radiated, thrown back. Furthermore, this excessive accumulation leads to an increase in the temperatures of the oceans and the atmosphere, worsening the situation and increasing the heat itself, a bit like a vicious circle.

I study

The authors combined satellite data with measurements and surveys collected over time. The information comes in part fromexperiment on the climate Ceres (Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System), conducted by NASA, which allows you to evaluate both incoming and outgoing energy. In addition to the use of satellites, the experts carried out measurements and analyzed the in situ reliefs, which show a trend similar to that detected by the satellites.

The increase in heat blocked in the Earth is there and is not insignificant. The 90% of this excess of thermal energy ends up in the oceans and this may have new negative consequences, such as the rapid increase in melting of ice. The remainder heats the rest of the planet as the temperature of the atmosphere increases. The consequences, therefore, they will see each other especially in the seas, with the dissolution of the arctic ice ol’water acidification which leads to damage to animal and plant organisms and imbalances in ecosystems. But even on land there is no need to rest assured: the increase in temperatures leads to a greater presence of water vapor, which in turn contributes to go up the thermometer.

The causes: fewer clouds and the inevitable greenhouse effect

There are two main causes of this internal overheating. One of the main factors is it melting of sea ice and the decrease of clouds, which have an important “filter” function, increasing the amount of solar radiation reflected by the planet.

The other element that could not miss the appeal is theeffect serra, for which the thermal energy coming from a nearby star, in this case our Sun, accumulates in the planet’s atmosphere due to the increasing presence of certain gases, called greenhouses, which trap it.

At the ocean level, one thing to pay attention to is a known phenomenon Pacific Decadal Oscillation. It is a North Pacific pattern of behavior, studied by scientists, with which in practice one manifests itself variability and some anomalies in ocean temperatures. The variation follows periodic fluctuations over ten years. In the final years of the study, from 2014 to 2020, this variability was strongly expressed with anomaly towards higher temperatures. If this anomalous behavior remains so, climate change could even get worse.

The next steps

Scientists today have quantified this deterioration over the past 15 years. Studies like this are increasingly helping to focus on the extent of the problem and its roots. New studies and models are needed, the authors conclude, to better understand the real impact of this excess heat absorbed on the increase in temperatures, on the change in sea level and on the hydrogeological cycle


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