Geophysical Research Letters. ADVERTISEMENT “The two very independent ways of looking at changes in Earth’s energy imbalance are in really, really good agreement, and they’re both showing this very large trend, which gives us a lot of confidence that what we’re seeing is a real phenomenon and not just an instrumental artifact, ” said Norman Loeb, lead author for the study and principal investigator for CERES at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. “The trends we found were quite alarming in a sense.”All of these factors contribute to the planet’s energy imbalance.
However, the investigators wanted to narrow down the primary reasons for the warming trend even further.To do this, they used a method that analyzed the following:The study found that excess greenhouse gases have partially caused the energy imbalance to double, as researchers suspected. They also found that water vapor increases in the atmosphere have trapped more outgoing longwave radiation. Finally, a decrease in clouds and sea ice has caused the Earth to absorb more heat from the sun.
These factors are mainly driving the energy imbalance. However, there’s one more component likely contributing to a warming Earth.“It’s likely a mix of anthropogenic forcing and internal variability,” said Loeb. “And over this period, they’re both causing warming, which leads to a fairly large change in Earth’s energy imbalance.
The magnitude of the increase is unprecedented.”According to an article by Scientific American, scientists say there’s a relatively small energy difference. In fact, there’s only a 0.3% difference between radiation going in and out of the planet’s atmosphere. However, that’s enough to throw the planet’s climate and weather out of whack.
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