# Earth's Energy Out of Balance?

• Andre
In summary, the study reveals Earth's energy imbalance is large by standards of the planet's history. The imbalance is 0.85 watts per meter squared. That will cause an additional warming of 0.6 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit) by the end of this century. However, the paper by Hansen et al. was published in Science and has been met with criticism for its use of a consistency check that is much smaller than the error margin of any conceivable calculation that someone may want to do today or in the near future.
Andre
Sure enough this came up somewhere:

Scientists from NASA, Columbia University, New York, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif. used satellites, data from buoys and computer models to study the Earth's oceans. They confirmed the energy imbalance by using precise measurements of increasing ocean heat content over the past 10 years.

(...)

The study reveals Earth's energy imbalance is large by standards of the planet's history. The imbalance is 0.85 watts per meter squared. That will cause an additional warming of 0.6 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit) by the end of this century.

However:

http://motls.blogspot.com/2005/04/Earth's-energy-balance.html

You can see that we roughly know the major energy flows through the atmosphere, as long as you allow for the uncertainties of order 30 W/m^2 (up to ten percent of the energy flows). Now, open the paper by Hansen et al.:

Hansen et al. 2005
James Hansen is one of the people who started the paradigm that "climate change is one of the most important threats facing the humankind" two decades ago. In the paper above, they "derive" many new catastrophic scenarios. The only reason why you should believe these scenarios based on these specific computer models is the following "consistency check":

Their favorite computer models happen to claim that the Earth absorbs "0.85+-0.15 W/m^2" more energy than it emits; the same number "0.85 W/m^2" is calculated from the increasing temperature of oceans as the average extra energy stored by the oceans.
You can see that their advertised error margin is roughly 100 times smaller than the error margin of any conceivable calculation that someone may want to do today or in the near future.

The paper by Hansen et al was published in Science. Are you suggesting that the reviewers paid no attention to the 'consistency check' for significance used by the authors?

And what makes Luboš Motl a qualified authority to comment on the error margin produced by the computer model? Did anyone inform the editor of the journal of the issue, or write a commentary, since the accusation is serious.

Monique said:
The paper by Hansen et al was published in Science. Are you suggesting that the reviewers paid no attention to the 'consistency check' for significance used by the authors?

Well, after the war of the Hockeystick explained best here by Richard Muller, there may be a inverse proportionality trend between attractiviness of conclusions and acceptance standards of reviewers. Clearly this is a mild difference of opinion compared to that war. There is an older thread about that.

And what makes Luboš Motl a qualified authority to comment on the error margin produced by the computer model?

My personal view of authority would be knowledge, brainpower and a clean unbiased use of scientific methods. Unfortunately that's not how the world seems to work.

BTW, The equivocation problem here is a difference between accuracy and precision. Compare it with the carbon dating problems in the other palaeo glaciation thread. The AMS carbon dating method is very precise with error margins of about 0,3% but highly inaccurate with errors up to 25% due to environmental bias.

To underscore this point may I also recommend:
http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/csrl/publications/pub_exchange/Wielicki_et_al_2002.pdf
showing that the loss of extra energy in the 30N-30S band in the last two decades is 2.9 W/m2, about three times larger than the "unbalance" found in Hansen et al (but measured by the same satellites!).

Did anyone inform the editor of the journal of the issue, or write a commentary, since the accusation is serious.

Welcome in the global warming war.

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## 1. What is "Earth's Energy Out of Balance?"

"Earth's Energy Out of Balance" refers to the state of the Earth's energy budget, where the amount of energy entering the Earth's atmosphere from the sun is not equal to the amount of energy leaving the Earth's atmosphere. This imbalance can have significant impacts on the Earth's climate and weather patterns.

## 2. What causes "Earth's Energy Out of Balance?"

Several factors can contribute to "Earth's Energy Out of Balance." The main cause is human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation, which release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and trap heat. Other natural factors, such as changes in solar activity and volcanic eruptions, can also contribute to the imbalance.

## 3. How is "Earth's Energy Out of Balance" measured?

The energy balance of the Earth is measured using satellite observations and ground-based measurements. Scientists use instruments to measure the incoming solar radiation and outgoing thermal radiation to determine the net energy balance. The most commonly used metric is the "radiative forcing," which quantifies the change in the energy balance caused by a specific factor.

## 4. What are the consequences of "Earth's Energy Out of Balance?"

The consequences of "Earth's Energy Out of Balance" can be severe. The excess heat trapped in the atmosphere can lead to rising global temperatures, melting ice caps and glaciers, sea level rise, and more frequent and severe extreme weather events. This imbalance can also disrupt ecosystems, impact agriculture and food production, and threaten human health and well-being.

## 5. How can we address "Earth's Energy Out of Balance?"

To address "Earth's Energy Out of Balance," we need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we emit into the atmosphere. This can be achieved through transitioning to renewable energy sources, increasing energy efficiency, and implementing sustainable land-use practices. Individual actions, such as reducing our carbon footprint and supporting policies that promote climate action, can also contribute to addressing this issue.

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