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Earth has a fever, but the heat is sloshing into the oceans

RATE THIS! +34
Posted in Science on 5th Apr, 2014 12:52 AM by AlexMuller

Much has been made about the Earth's energy imbalance (extra energy absorbed by the Earth). It is clear the Earth is out of balance, what isn't clear is how bad it is. A new study by Dr. Matt Palmer and Dr. Doug McNeall moves us closer to answering this question.

 
These scientists used data from the latest group of climate computer models (CMIP5) to look at the relationships between the energy flows at the top of the atmosphere, the surface temperature of the Earth, and changes in ocean energy. They made (in my mind), three important conclusions.
 
First, there is a lot of variability in the Earth surface temperature. In fact, these natural fluctuations of the Earth surface temperature (0.3 degrees C per decade) can mask much of the underlying global warming. Consequently, you cannot use Earth surface temperatures over 10 years or so as an indicator of the Earth "fever".
 
As we look over longer periods of time, the "masking" of global warming by internal fluctuations gets smaller; however, even for 15 years or so, natural fluctuations and human-caused global warming can be about the same size.
 
Second, the authors found that an increase in the ocean energy explains almost all (95%) of the variation in the Earth energy balance. This means that more complete measurements of the global oceans would enable us to better measure the "fever." Finally, for time periods longer than a year, the ocean becomes the dominant storage reservoir for heat.

Tags: climate changeglobal warmingenvironmentscienceocean

Read original article » Back to category

Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-05
+3
It is time to get serious about global warming- there is research, a lot of data and clear evidence that this is a big problem. Something radical has to change Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-05
+3
There is one very important topic that is also discussed in the article. This is about external influences and internal variations of the Earth system. One has to consider that "external" influences may be smaller than the natural variability of the Earth system itself – the "sloshing" of energy in/out, and within the Earth system. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-05
+2
The importance of ocean and satellite measurements of the Earth's "fever" is now clear. The lack of correlation between global surface temperature and top-of-atmosphere energy over ten years, tells us that temperature trends are not a good indicator of how much energy is accumulating in the Earth system over the same period!
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-05
+2
Yes, they state this clearly in this article: "If you want to measure global warming on timescales of about a decade, measure the temperature of the oceans. The deeper you measure, the more accurately you'll measure the warming." This is the most important thing- we now seem to better understand what should be measured! Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2016-05-06
+0
Tht'as going to make things a lot easier from here on out. Reply


 

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