The energy balance of the earth is unbalanced: how does energy circulate and what it means for climate change
August 10, 2021 14:31:45 Ist
You probably remember your primary school teachers explaining that energy can neither be created nor destroyed.It is a fundamental property of the universe.
Energy can however be transformed.When the sun's rays reach the earth, they turn into random movements of molecules that you feel in the form of heat.At the same time, the earth and the atmosphere refer radiation to space.The balance between incoming and outgoing energy is known as the "energy budget" of the earth.
Our climate is determined by these energy flows.When the amount of incoming energy is greater than the outgoing energy, the planet warms up.
This can happen in several ways, for example when sea ice normally reflects solar radiation in space disappears and the dark ocean absorbs this energy instead.This also happens when greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere and trap a part of the energy which, otherwise, would have been irradiated.
Scientists like me are measuring the energy balance of the earth since the 1980s using instruments on satellites, in the air and the oceans, and on the ground.This is an important part of the new climate assessment of the intergovernmental group of experts on the evolution of the United Nations climate published on August 9, 2021.
Here is a more in -depth examination of the way energy circulates and what the energy balance tells us about how and why the planet warms up.
Balance the energy of the sun
Practically all the energy of the climate system of the earth comes from the sun.Only a tiny fraction is driven up from inside the earth.
On average, the planet receives 340.4 watts of sun per square meter.The whole sun falls on the side of the day and the figures are much higher at local noon.
Of these 340.4 watts per square meter:
Almost all of the absorbed energy corresponds to the energy emitted in the space.However, a residue is now accumulating in the form of global warming.This residual increased, going from just under 0.6 watt per square meter at the end of the last century to 0.79 in 2006-2018, according to the latest data from the Intergovernmental Experts Group on Climate Evolution.The vast majority of this now heats up the oceans.Although it may seem a small number, this energy addresses.
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Earth energy balance sheet.New measures show that the accumulated residue has increased.Nasa
The atmosphere absorbs a lot of energy and emits it in the form of radiation both in space and towards the surface of the planet.In fact, the surface of the earth receives almost twice as much atmosphere radiation than from the direct sun.It is mainly because the sun only heats the surface during the day, while the hot atmosphere is up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Together, the energy reaching the surface of the earth from the sun and the atmosphere is around 504 watts per square meter.The surface of the earth emits about 79 percent.The remaining surface energy is used to evaporate water and reheat air, oceans and earth.
The residue between the incoming sun and the outgoing infrared is due to the accumulation of greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide in the air.These gases are transparent in sunlight but opaque with infrared rays - they absorb and emit many infrared rays.
The surface temperature of the earth must increase in response until the balance between the incoming and outgoing radiation is restored.
What does this mean for global temperatures?
Double carbon dioxide would add 3.7 Watts of heat to each square meter of the earth.Imagine incandescent night lights, every 3 feet on the whole world, left on forever.
To the current rate of emissions, greenhouse gas levels would double compared to pre -industrial levels by the middle of the century.
Climatologists calculate that adding so much warmth in the world would warm up the land climate with approximately 5 degrees Fahrenheit (3 C).To avoid this, it would be necessary to replace the combustion of fossil fuels, the main source of greenhouse gas emissions, by other forms of energy.
Earth energy balance sheet est au cœur de la nouvelle évaluation climatique du GIEC, rédigée par des centaines de scientifiques examinant les dernières recherches.Knowing what changes, everyone can make better choices to preserve the climate as we know them.
Scott Denning, professor of atmosphere sciences, Colorado State University.This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.Read the original article.
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