Between 2001 and 2010, the Earth has been accumulating heat continuously, with temperatures rising especially in the sub-surface ocean, reports a study published online this week in Nature Geoscience. The analysis suggests that the heat balance measured at the top of the atmosphere is consistent with observed ocean warming, implying that there is probably no ‘missing energy’ in the system as had been suspected. Norman Loeb and co-authors determined the net radiation balance at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere from satellite data and estimated the heat content of the upper ocean from three independent sources. They conclude that the changes in upper-ocean heat content and in the top-of-the-atmosphere heat balance are in broad agreement, given the considerable uncertainty between the observational systems.
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