skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Insights into Earth’s Energy Imbalance from Multiple Sources

Abstract

The current Earth’s energy imbalance (EEI) can best be estimated from changes in ocean heat content (OHC), complemented by top-of-atmosphere (TOA) radiation measurements and an assessment of the small non-ocean components. Sustained observations from the Argo array of autonomous profiling floats enable near-global estimates of OHC since 2005, which reveal considerable cancellation of variations in the upper 300 m. An analysis of the monthly contributions to EEI from non-ocean components (land and ice) using the Community Earth System Model (CESM) Large Ensemble reveals standard deviations of 0.3–0.4 W m-2 (global); largest values occur in August, but values are below 0.75 W m-2 greater than 95% of the time. Global standard deviations of EEI of 0.64 W m-2 based on top-of-atmosphere observations therefore substantially constrain ocean contributions, given by the tendencies of OHC. Instead, monthly standard deviations of many Argo-based OHC tendencies are 6–13 W m-2, and nonphysical fluctuations are clearly evident. It is shown that an ocean reanalysis with multivariate dynamical data assimilation features much better agreement with TOA radiation, and 44% of the vertically integrated short-term OHC trend for 2005–14 of 0.8 ± 0.2 W m-2 (globally) occurs below 700-m depth. Largest warming occurs from 20° to 50°S, especiallymore » over the southern oceans, and near 40°N in all ocean analyses. The EEI is estimated to be 0.9 ± 0.3 W m-2 for 2005–14.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)
  2. Mercator Ocean, Ramonville St. Agne (France)
  3. Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing (China)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1537015
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0012711
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Climate
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 29; Journal Issue: 20; Journal ID: ISSN 0894-8755
Publisher:
American Meteorological Society
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences

Citation Formats

Trenberth, Kevin E., Fasullo, John T., von Schuckmann, Karina, and Cheng, Lijing. Insights into Earth’s Energy Imbalance from Multiple Sources. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1175/jcli-d-16-0339.1.
Trenberth, Kevin E., Fasullo, John T., von Schuckmann, Karina, & Cheng, Lijing. Insights into Earth’s Energy Imbalance from Multiple Sources. United States. doi:10.1175/jcli-d-16-0339.1.
Trenberth, Kevin E., Fasullo, John T., von Schuckmann, Karina, and Cheng, Lijing. Sat . "Insights into Earth’s Energy Imbalance from Multiple Sources". United States. doi:10.1175/jcli-d-16-0339.1. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1537015.
@article{osti_1537015,
title = {Insights into Earth’s Energy Imbalance from Multiple Sources},
author = {Trenberth, Kevin E. and Fasullo, John T. and von Schuckmann, Karina and Cheng, Lijing},
abstractNote = {The current Earth’s energy imbalance (EEI) can best be estimated from changes in ocean heat content (OHC), complemented by top-of-atmosphere (TOA) radiation measurements and an assessment of the small non-ocean components. Sustained observations from the Argo array of autonomous profiling floats enable near-global estimates of OHC since 2005, which reveal considerable cancellation of variations in the upper 300 m. An analysis of the monthly contributions to EEI from non-ocean components (land and ice) using the Community Earth System Model (CESM) Large Ensemble reveals standard deviations of 0.3–0.4 W m-2 (global); largest values occur in August, but values are below 0.75 W m-2 greater than 95% of the time. Global standard deviations of EEI of 0.64 W m-2 based on top-of-atmosphere observations therefore substantially constrain ocean contributions, given by the tendencies of OHC. Instead, monthly standard deviations of many Argo-based OHC tendencies are 6–13 W m-2, and nonphysical fluctuations are clearly evident. It is shown that an ocean reanalysis with multivariate dynamical data assimilation features much better agreement with TOA radiation, and 44% of the vertically integrated short-term OHC trend for 2005–14 of 0.8 ± 0.2 W m-2 (globally) occurs below 700-m depth. Largest warming occurs from 20° to 50°S, especially over the southern oceans, and near 40°N in all ocean analyses. The EEI is estimated to be 0.9 ± 0.3 W m-2 for 2005–14.},
doi = {10.1175/jcli-d-16-0339.1},
journal = {Journal of Climate},
number = 20,
volume = 29,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {10}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 42 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Argo float data and metadata from Global Data Assembly Centre (Argo GDAC)
dataset, January 2018

  • Fumihiko, Akazawa; Turki, Alraddadi; Pascual, Ananda
  • DOI: 10.17882/42182

    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Argo float data and metadata from Global Data Assembly Centre (Argo GDAC)
    dataset, January 2018

    • Fumihiko, Akazawa; Turki, Alraddadi; Pascual, Ananda
    • DOI: 10.17882/42182

    The global warming hiatus: Slowdown or redistribution?: THE GLOBAL WARMING HIATUS
    journal, November 2016

    • Yan, Xiao-Hai; Boyer, Tim; Trenberth, Kevin
    • Earth's Future, Vol. 4, Issue 11
    • DOI: 10.1002/2016ef000417

    Seasonal constraints on inferred planetary heat content: SEASONALLY CONSTRAINED HEAT BUDGET
    journal, October 2016

    • McKinnon, Karen A.; Huybers, Peter
    • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 43, Issue 20
    • DOI: 10.1002/2016gl071055

    As El Niño builds, Pacific Warm Pool expands, ocean gains more heat: ENSO, the Ocean, and Earth's Energy Uptake
    journal, January 2017

    • Johnson, Gregory C.; Birnbaum, Abigail N.
    • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 44, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1002/2016gl071767

    Constraining the Global Ocean Heat Content Through Assimilation of CERES-Derived TOA Energy Imbalance Estimates: Assimilating CERES Energy Imbalance Data
    journal, October 2017

    • Storto, Andrea; Yang, Chunxue; Masina, Simona
    • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 44, Issue 20
    • DOI: 10.1002/2017gl075396

    Improved Global Net Surface Heat Flux
    journal, May 2018

    • Carton, James A.; Chepurin, Gennady A.; Chen, Ligan
    • Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, Vol. 123, Issue 5
    • DOI: 10.1002/2017jc013137

    Consensuses and discrepancies of basin-scale ocean heat content changes in different ocean analyses
    journal, June 2017


    Reconciling controversies about the ‘global warming hiatus’
    journal, May 2017

    • Medhaug, Iselin; Stolpe, Martin B.; Fischer, Erich M.
    • Nature, Vol. 545, Issue 7652
    • DOI: 10.1038/nature22315

    The Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service Ocean State Report
    journal, September 2016

    • von Schuckmann, Karina; Le Traon, Pierre-Yves; Alvarez-Fanjul, Enrique
    • Journal of Operational Oceanography, Vol. 9, Issue sup2
    • DOI: 10.1080/1755876x.2016.1273446

    Copernicus Marine Service Ocean State Report
    journal, August 2018

    • von Schuckmann, Karina; Le Traon, Pierre-Yves; Smith, Neville
    • Journal of Operational Oceanography, Vol. 11, Issue sup1
    • DOI: 10.1080/1755876x.2018.1489208

    Improved estimates of ocean heat content from 1960 to 2015
    journal, March 2017

    • Cheng, Lijing; Trenberth, Kevin E.; Fasullo, John
    • Science Advances, Vol. 3, Issue 3
    • DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601545

    Ocean Reanalyses: Recent Advances and Unsolved Challenges
    journal, July 2019

    • Storto, Andrea; Alvera-Azcárate, Aida; Balmaseda, Magdalena A.
    • Frontiers in Marine Science, Vol. 6
    • DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00418

    The global warming hiatus: Slowdown or redistribution?: THE GLOBAL WARMING HIATUS
    journal, November 2016

    • Yan, Xiao-Hai; Boyer, Tim; Trenberth, Kevin
    • Earth's Future, Vol. 4, Issue 11
    • DOI: 10.1002/2016ef000417

    Seasonal constraints on inferred planetary heat content: SEASONALLY CONSTRAINED HEAT BUDGET
    journal, October 2016

    • McKinnon, Karen A.; Huybers, Peter
    • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 43, Issue 20
    • DOI: 10.1002/2016gl071055

    As El Niño builds, Pacific Warm Pool expands, ocean gains more heat: ENSO, the Ocean, and Earth's Energy Uptake
    journal, January 2017

    • Johnson, Gregory C.; Birnbaum, Abigail N.
    • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 44, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1002/2016gl071767

    Constraining the Global Ocean Heat Content Through Assimilation of CERES-Derived TOA Energy Imbalance Estimates: Assimilating CERES Energy Imbalance Data
    journal, October 2017

    • Storto, Andrea; Yang, Chunxue; Masina, Simona
    • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 44, Issue 20
    • DOI: 10.1002/2017gl075396

    Improved Global Net Surface Heat Flux
    journal, May 2018

    • Carton, James A.; Chepurin, Gennady A.; Chen, Ligan
    • Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, Vol. 123, Issue 5
    • DOI: 10.1002/2017jc013137

    Consensuses and discrepancies of basin-scale ocean heat content changes in different ocean analyses
    journal, June 2017


    Reconciling controversies about the ‘global warming hiatus’
    journal, May 2017

    • Medhaug, Iselin; Stolpe, Martin B.; Fischer, Erich M.
    • Nature, Vol. 545, Issue 7652
    • DOI: 10.1038/nature22315

    The Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service Ocean State Report
    journal, September 2016

    • von Schuckmann, Karina; Le Traon, Pierre-Yves; Alvarez-Fanjul, Enrique
    • Journal of Operational Oceanography, Vol. 9, Issue sup2
    • DOI: 10.1080/1755876x.2016.1273446

    Copernicus Marine Service Ocean State Report
    journal, August 2018

    • von Schuckmann, Karina; Le Traon, Pierre-Yves; Smith, Neville
    • Journal of Operational Oceanography, Vol. 11, Issue sup1
    • DOI: 10.1080/1755876x.2018.1489208

    Improved estimates of ocean heat content from 1960 to 2015
    journal, March 2017

    • Cheng, Lijing; Trenberth, Kevin E.; Fasullo, John
    • Science Advances, Vol. 3, Issue 3
    • DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601545

    Ocean Reanalyses: Recent Advances and Unsolved Challenges
    journal, July 2019

    • Storto, Andrea; Alvera-Azcárate, Aida; Balmaseda, Magdalena A.
    • Frontiers in Marine Science, Vol. 6
    • DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00418

    Record-Setting Ocean Warmth Continued in 2019
    journal, January 2020


    Predictability of Ocean Heat Content From Electrical Conductance
    journal, January 2019

    • Trossman, D. S.; Tyler, R. H.
    • Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, Vol. 124, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1029/2018jc014740

    Quantification of ocean heat uptake from changes in atmospheric O2 and CO2 composition
    journal, October 2018


    Climate-change–driven accelerated sea-level rise detected in the altimeter era
    journal, February 2018

    • Nerem, R. S.; Beckley, B. D.; Fasullo, J. T.
    • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 115, Issue 9
    • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1717312115

    Quantifying human contributions to past and future ocean warming and thermosteric sea level rise
    journal, July 2019

    • Tokarska, Katarzyna B.; Hegerl, Gabriele C.; Schurer, Andrew P.
    • Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 14, Issue 7
    • DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab23c1

    Measuring Global Ocean Heat Content to Estimate the Earth Energy Imbalance
    journal, August 2019


    RAVAN: CubeSat Demonstration for Multi-Point Earth Radiation Budget Measurements
    journal, April 2019

    • Swartz, William; Lorentz, Steven; Papadakis, Stergios
    • Remote Sensing, Vol. 11, Issue 7
    • DOI: 10.3390/rs11070796

    Measurement of the Earth Radiation Budget at the Top of the Atmosphere—A Review
    journal, November 2017

    • Dewitte, Steven; Clerbaux, Nicolas
    • Remote Sensing, Vol. 9, Issue 11
    • DOI: 10.3390/rs9111143

    Analysis algorithm for sky type and ice halo recognition in all-sky images
    journal, January 2019

    • Boyd, Sylke; Sorenson, Stephen; Richard, Shelby
    • Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, Vol. 12, Issue 8
    • DOI: 10.5194/amt-12-4241-2019

    Young people's burden: requirement of negative CO 2 emissions
    journal, January 2017

    • Hansen, James; Sato, Makiko; Kharecha, Pushker
    • Earth System Dynamics, Vol. 8, Issue 3
    • DOI: 10.5194/esd-8-577-2017