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AGU journal highlights -- Sept. 9, 2009
Date:9/9/2009

re for Planetary Sciences, University College London, London, UK; H. J. McAndrews, M. G. Henderson, and R. J. Wilson: Space Science and Applications, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2009GL039149, 2009; http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2009GL039149


6. Balancing Earth's energy budget

The Earth's surface can be considered a system with an energy budget, with energy being gained by solar radiation and by internal heating through volcanic eruptions, and energy being lost by reflection and diffusion into space. Recognizing that simple analyses can reveal bulk trends in the Earth system without needing to use global climate models, Murphy et al. examined the Earth's energy balance since 1950, focusing specifically on how this governs the warming Earth. Through measurements and radiative transfer models of ocean heat content, long-lived trace gases, and volcanic eruptions, the authors found that about 20 percent of the total energy available to warm the Earth from greenhouse gases and solar radiation since 1950 has been diffused back into space. By contrast, 10 percent has gone into heating the Earth, almost all into the oceans. An additional 20 percent has been balanced by cooling associated with volcanic eruptions. The remaining 50 percent has been balanced by anthropogenic aerosols. The data show that aerosol forcings are consistent with estimates of trends in global sulfate emissions.

See previous press release at: http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/2009-24.html

Title: An observationally based energy balance for the Earth since 1950

Authors: D. M. Murphy, S. Solomon, R. W. Portmann, and K. H. Rosenlof: Chemical Sciences Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A.; P. M. Forster:
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Contact: Peter Weiss
pweiss@agu.org
202-777-7507
American Geophysical Union
Source:Eurekalert

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