NASA: The amount of heat absorbed by the Earth nearly doubled between 2005 and 2019, as measured on the planet’s surface and in the oceans. The finding comes from a survey by NASA in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States (NOAA), released on Tuesday (15).
According to the study, which described heat absorption as “unprecedented,” the phenomenon is a result of rising greenhouse gas emissions, in part, leaving solar radiation trapped on the planet. The decrease in clouds and the amount of ice also facilitated the absorption of energy from the Sun.
Another factor highlighted by the authors is a natural change in the Pacific Ocean, which went from a cold to a warmer phase in 2014. The variability in water temperature reduced the cloud cover over the ocean, increasing the absorption of solar radiation.
“It’s probably a mix of anthropogenic force and internal variability. And during this period, both are causing warming, which leads to a significant shift in the Earth’s energy imbalance,” commented NASA researcher Norman Loeb, co-author of the study.
To determine changes in the planet’s climate, the investigation compared data from two independent measurements. The information collected by the sensors of the instrument Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES), capable of measuring the energy that enters and leaves the Earth’s system, are among them.
The experts also analyzed data from NOAA’s Argo Ocean Float Network, which measures the rate of warming of the oceans. According to Loeb, the two measurements showed the same trend towards an increase in heat absorption.
The scientist stressed that the study is only “a preview of long-term climate change”, saying it is not possible to accurately predict what the next decades will be in terms of the energy imbalance.