In July, I wrote a post that laid the groundwork for the discussion of climate change basics: Gases, Forcing & Surface Temperature. This post follows onto that initial post by discussing energy within Earth’s climate system. As in that post, I will focus on the results in the IPCC’s AR4. There is a wealth of additional results in the scientific literature since the 2007 Report and I will share some of those in future posts. In other words, the IPCC information will be used as a baseline. This post is a little long, but I think it’s worth reading in its entirety.
First, here are two views of the energy content in the climate system. The first is from the IPCC’s WGI Technical Summary:
Source: IPCC AR4 Figure TS.15. Energy content changes in different components of the Earth for two periods (1961-2003 (blue) and 1993-2003 (burgundy)).