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Twice the heat in 15 years on Earth

What we are talking about here is a cyclical mechanism that has existed since the dawn of time. The Earth receives a certain amount of radiation from the Sun. Part of it is stored in the atmosphere, oceans, soil and plants, and the rest is “reflected” or “expelled” into space. This balance is what makes our planet suitable for life — neither a block of ice, which would not receive enough heat, nor a hell like Venus, whose thick cloud layer traps too much heat.

That this balance fluctuates from year to year is not abnormal. El Nino, for example, is the best known of the meteorological phenomena which, at irregular intervals, results in an average rise in temperature on a global scale.

But the magnitude of the current increase ” is unprecedented ”, Summarizes the researcher Norman Loeb, of the NASA, principal author of a research carried out jointly by the NASA and the NOAA (National agency of the oceans and the atmosphere) and published June 15 in the review Geophysical Research Letters. The “imbalance” would have doubled between 2005 and 2019, according to a compilation of satellite data, which the researchers compared to data collected during the same period by marine buoys. It is the consensus between these two distinct blocks of data that gives its strength to this study, comment the experts.

Such an imbalance means a faster warming of the oceans — since they are the ones who absorb 90% of the heat — and, by a domino effect, a warming of the air and of the continents.

On average, the Earth receives 240 watts per square meter from the Sun. In 2005, it “radiated” – rejected, reflected – 239.5. Or a slight imbalance of half a watt. At the end of the period studied by the researchers, this imbalance had therefore fallen to 1 watt.

If that doesn’t seem like much, it’s because you then have to multiply this figure by more than 100,000 square kilometers of continents, and add the oceans …

Will the trend continue at the same rate for the next 15 years, or did it have the “help” of purely meteorological phenomena? It is impossible to say yet, but it is certain that the trend has also benefited, to one degree or another, from the “help” of humans.

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