Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists Confirm Earth’s Energy Is Out of Balance

02.05.2005


Scientists have concluded more energy is being absorbed from the sun than is emitted back to space, throwing the Earth’s energy "out of balance" and warming the globe.


Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) measurements show the reflected solar radiation (left) and emitted heat radiation (right) for January 1, 2002. In both images, the lightest areas represent thick clouds, which both reflect radiation from the Sun and block heat rising from the Earth’s surface. Notice the clouds above the western Pacific Ocean, where there is strong uprising of air, and the relative lack of clouds north and south of the equator. Credit: NASA


The Earth’s energy balance refers to the amount of energy received from the sun (yellow arrows) minus the energy reflected and emitted from the Earth (red arrows). Clouds play an important role in regulating this balance. Thin cirrus clouds permit sunlight to pass through them, while blocking a significant amount of the heat radiating from the surface. Thick cumulus clouds reflect most sunlight, and block the majority of heat radiating from the surface. Credit: NASA



Scientists from NASA, Columbia University, New York, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif. used satellites, data from buoys and computer models to study the Earth’s oceans. They confirmed the energy imbalance by using precise measurements of increasing ocean heat content over the past 10 years.

The study reveals Earth’s energy imbalance is large by standards of the planet’s history. The imbalance is 0.85 watts per meter squared. That will cause an additional warming of 0.6 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit) by the end of this century.


To understand the difference, think of a one-watt light bulb shining over an area of one square meter (10.76 square feet). Although it doesn’t seem like much, adding up the number of feet around the world creates a big effect. To put this number into perspective, an imbalance of one-watt per square meter, maintained for the past 10,000 years is enough to melt ice equivalent to one kilometer (.6 mile) of sea level, if there were that much ice.

"The energy imbalance is an expected consequence of increasing atmospheric pollution, especially carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, and black carbon particles. These pollutants block the Earth’s heat radiation from escaping to space, and they increase absorption of sunlight," said Jim Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York. He is the lead author of the new study, which is in this week’s Science Magazine Science Express.

As the Earth warms it emits more heat. Eventually the Earth will be back in balance, if the greenhouse gas emissions are kept at the same level of today. Scientists know it takes the ocean longer to warm than the land. The lag in the ocean’s response has practical consequences. It means there is an additional global warming of about one degree Fahrenheit that is already in the pipeline. Even if there were no further increase of human-made gases in the air, climate would continue to warm that much over the next century.

Warmer world-wide water temperatures also affect other things. "Warmer waters increase the likelihood of accelerated ice sheet disintegration and sea level rise during this century," Hansen said. Since 1993, sea levels have been measured by satellite altimeters. Data has shown they have risen by approximately 3.1 centimeters or 1.26 inches per decade.

Although 3.1 centimeters is a small change, the rate of increase is twice as large as in the preceding century. There are positive feedbacks that come into play, as the area of ice melt increases. The researchers agree monitoring ice sheets and sea level is necessary to best ensure the system is in balance.

Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/environment/earth_energy.html
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Sediment from Himalayas may have made 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake more severe
26.05.2017 | Oregon State University

nachricht Devils Hole: Ancient Traces of Climate History
24.05.2017 | Universität Innsbruck

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>