Earth's Energy Imbalance and Climate Change

Earth's Energy Imbalance and Climate Change

Kevin Trenberth

Former Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC

In this video, Kevin introduces Earth’s Energy Budget and the Complexity of the Climate System. He also talks about the increasing pace of the earth's energy imbalance, which is responsible for extreme weather events such as floods, wildfires, heat waves, and storms occurring more frequently than ever.

In this video, Kevin introduces Earth’s Energy Budget and the Complexity of the Climate System. He also talks about the increasing pace of the earth's energy imbalance, which is responsible for extreme weather events such as floods, wildfires, heat waves, and storms occurring more frequently than ever.

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Earth's Energy Imbalance and Climate Change

18 mins 38 secs

Overview

The concentration of greenhouse gases from human activities has reached 420 parts per million (PPM), and is rising at about 2.5PPM per year. This concentration of gases acts as a blanket around the planet, trapping energy and warming it up, causing an energy imbalance. This excess energy (heat) has to be stored somewhere. It can be stored in the land, the atmosphere, the oceans or ice. Each of these components has different heat storage capabilities and they are all negatively impacted by the excess energy, and given they are all interconnected, any issues are amplified.

Key learning objectives:

  • Understand why there is an energy imbalance on Earth

  • Outline where excess energy is stored

  • Understand some of the negative effects of storing this excess energy

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Summary
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Expert
Kevin Trenberth

Kevin Trenberth

Dr. Kevin Trenberth is a Distinguished Scholar at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). He was a Coordinating Lead Author of the 1995, 2001, and 2007 Scientific Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Kevin also shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize which went to the IPCC and Al Gore. Between 1999 to 2006, Kevin served on the Joint Scientific committee of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). Kevin then went on to chair the WCRP Observation and Assimilation Panel from 2004 to 2010 and the Global Energy and Water Exchanges (GEWEX) Scientific Steering Group from 2010 to 2013. He has also served on many US national committees and is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi. Kevin has received many awards throughout his career. In 2000, he received the Jule G. Charney award from the AMS; in 2003, he was given the NCAR Distinguished Achievement Award. In 2013 he was awarded the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, and he received the Climate Communication Prize from AGU and in 2017 he was honoured with the Roger Revelle medal by the AGU.

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