Summary List Placement
The amount of heat being trapped by Earth has roughly doubled since 2005, NASA warned.
Researchers from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found in a new study released earlier this week that Earth’s “energy imbalance approximately doubled during the 14-year period from 2005 to 2019.”
The energy imbalance is how much heat the Earth absorbs from the sun, compared to how much “thermal infrared radiation” the Earth radiates back into space.
Norman Loeb, the study’s lead author and a NASA investigator, said: “The magnitude of the increase is unprecedented.”
Researchers pointed to human activity as one of the main catalysts.
The study said the greenhouse gases from human activity were trapping heat in the atmosphere that then melted snow and ice, which in turn put more water vapor into the atmosphere, thereby preventing radiation from escaping.
It also said that a “naturally occurring” shift in the Pacific Ocean from a cool phase to a warm one likely played a big part.
The researchers used a series of satellites and a network of ocean floats to reach their findings, and compared the data from each.
Loeb said: “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.
“The trends we found were quite alarming in a sense.”