Jan 27, 2016

An imperative to monitor Earth's energy imbalance

K. von Schuckmann, M.D. Palmer, K.E. Trenberth, A. Cazenave, D. Chambers, N. Champollion, J. Hansen, S.A. Josey, N. Loeb, P.-P. Mathieu, B. Meyssignac and M. Wild
Nature Climate Change
  • States the current Earth's energy imbalance (EEI) is mostly caused by human activity, and is driving global warming
  • States the absolute value of EEI represents the most fundamental metric defining the status of global climate change, and will be more useful than using global surface temperature
  • Asserts EEI can best be estimated from changes in ocean heat content, complemented by radiation measurements from space
  • Asserts that the following are crucial to refinging future EEI estimates: sustained observations from the Argo array of autonomous profiling floats and further development of the ocean observing system to sample the deep ocean, marginal seas and sea ice regions
  • Asserts that combining multiple measurements in an optimal way holds considerable promise for estimating EEI and thus assessing the status of global climate change, improving climate syntheses and models, and testing the effectiveness of mitigation actions