Abstract's details

Monitoring the Ocean Heat Content and the Earth Energy imbalance from space altimetry and space gravimetry

Michael Ablain (Magellium, France)


Marti Florence (Magellium, France); Blazquez Alejandro (LEGOS, Université de Toulouse, CNES, CNRS, UPS, IRD, France); Meyssignac Benoit (LEGOS, Université de Toulouse, CNES, CNRS, UPS, IRD, France); Fraudeau Robin (Magellium, France); Restano Marco (ESA/ESRIN, Italy); Benveniste Jérôme (ESA/ESRIN, Italy); Dibarboure Gérald (CNES, France)

Event: 2022 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting

Session: Science I: Climate data records for understanding the causes of global and regional sea level variability and change

Presentation type: Type Poster

Contribution: PDF file


The Earth energy imbalance (EEI) at the top of the atmosphere is responsible for the accumulation of energy in the climate system. While necessary to better understand the Earth’s warming climate, measuring the EEI is challenging as it is a globally integrated variable whose variations are small (0.5-1 W.m−2) compared to the amount of energy entering and leaving the climate system (~ 340 W.m-2). Accuracies better than 0.1 W.m−2 are needed to evaluate the temporal variations of the EEI at decadal and longer time-scales, characteristic of the response to anthropogenic and natural forcing.
Since the ocean absorbs about 90% of the excess energy stored by the Earth system, estimating the ocean heat content (OHC) provides an accurate proxy of the EEI. Here, the OHC is estimated at global scale based on the combination of space altimetry and space gravimetry measurements. Changes in the EEI are derived with realistic estimates of its uncertainty. The mean EEI value is estimated at +0.74±0.22 W m-2 (90% confidence level) between August 2002 and August 2016 and this value is increasing at a rate of 0.02 ± 0.05 W.m-2 (90% confidence level). Comparisons against independent estimates based on Argo data and on CERES measurements show good agreement within the error bars of the global mean and the time variations in EEI. On the other hand, discrepancies are also detected at inter-annual scales indicating that the current accuracy of EEI needs further improvement at these time scales. Estimates of the regional OHC change are also provided preliminarily and will be improved in the following months with a focus on the Atlantic Ocean. In particular, the role of the halosteric effects will be further investigated and the resulting product will be assessed against hydrographic data.
The space geodetic OHC-EEI product is freely available at https://doi.org/10.24400/527896/a01-2020.003.

Poster show times:

Room Start Date End Date
Mezzanine Tue, Nov 01 2022,17:15 Tue, Nov 01 2022,18:15
Mezzanine Thu, Nov 03 2022,14:00 Thu, Nov 03 2022,15:45
Michael Ablain