Earth is now trapping ‘unprecedented’ amount of heat, Nasa finds

The amount of energy that remains trapped in the planet accelerates global warming

Stuti Mishra@StutiNMishra
Thursday 17 June 2021 12:41
comments
<p>File image: A woman in Hong Kong looks through binoculars as planet Venus orbits between the Sun and the Earth during the transit of Venus on 6 June, 2012.  Earth’s energy imbalance is the difference between the amount of energy it receives and from sun and radiates back </p>

File image: A woman in Hong Kong looks through binoculars as planet Venus orbits between the Sun and the Earth during the transit of Venus on 6 June, 2012. Earth’s energy imbalance is the difference between the amount of energy it receives and from sun and radiates back

The amount of energy Earth traps has almost doubled in the last decade and a half, aiding to more rapid global warming, a recent study has revealed.

According to the international team of scientists, including those from Nasa and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the planet’s climate is determined by the earth’s energy imbalance, which means the difference between the amount of energy the planet receives from the sun and the amount it radiates back.

Their current study, based on satellite data and information from a global array of ocean floats, called Argo, shows the planet is trapping more energy into its surface now, than what it is able to send back.

The results of the analysis, published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, revealed that the earth’s warming pattern has nearly doubled from 2005 to 2019.

“The magnitude of the increase is unprecedented,” said Norman Loeb, a Nasa scientist and lead author of the study.

Mr Leob further wrote that the two methods used to analyse the energy imbalance are both showing “this very large trend” which makes them believe that the increased energy imbalance is “a real phenomenon and not just an instrumental artefact.”

This is happening due to the increased atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, like carbon dioxide and methane, that have accumulated due to human activity and trap heat in the atmosphere, capturing outgoing radiation that would otherwise escape into space.

The amount of energy that remains trapped in the planet accelerates global warming, as about the 90 per cent results in the warming of its oceans and the remaining heats up land and air, contributing to ice melting.

“The lengthening and highly complementary records from Argo and CERES have allowed us both to pin down Earth’s energy imbalance with increasing accuracy and to study its variations and trends with increasing insight, as time goes on,” Gregory Johnson, co-author on the study and physical oceanographer NOAA wrote.

“Observing the magnitude and variations of this energy imbalance are vital to understanding Earth’s changing climate,” he said. However, the scientists also concluded that this is only “a snapshot relative to long-term climate change.”

The study concludes that unless the heating pattern reduces in the coming years, some bigger changes in climate than what the planet is already witnessing should be expected.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments