Global land heat storage has dramatically increased since the 1960s
It has been well known that the world's oceans absorb most of the excess heat accumulated in the Earth's atmosphere. To be more specific, about 89 percent of this heat is stored in the oceans, while 5-6 percent is stored in landmasses, 4 percent in ice and glaciers and 1 to 2 percent in the atmosphere.
One question that has been unanswered up until now is how much more heat has been stored on the world's landmasses compared to over 50 years ago.
A group of internationals researchers working with the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research looked more closely at the amount of heat being stored in the world's permafrost and lakes between the 1960s and 2010s.
What they found was that the amount of heat storage in these land-based areas increased 20 times over the half century period since more and more heat is being trapped near the surface due to the steady increase in man-made greenhouse gases. Most of that excess heat is being stored in the upper 300 meters of the ground.
"It is important to more precisely quantify and monitor how much additional heat is absorbed by the continental landmasses. This is a key metric for understanding how changes in natural processes resulting from heat storage will affect humans and nature in the future," said co-author Prof. Dr. Jian Peng, head of the UFZ Remote Sensing Department.Report a Typo