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Implications of Earth’s energy imbalance for climate

The current Earth’s energy imbalance (EEI, defined as the difference between the total amount of solar radiation impinging on the Earth and thermal radiation emitted from the Earth) is mostly caused by human activity, and is driving global warming. The EEI represents the most fundamental metric defining the status of global climate change, and can best be estimated mainly from changes in ocean heat content (OHC), complemented by radiation measurements from space. Sustained ocean observations from the Argo array of autonomous profiling floats in the global ocean provide the backbone of new estimates of OHC changes. Combining multiple measurements in an optimal way holds considerable promise for estimating EEI and thus assessing the status of global climate change. New estimates of EEI and corresponding rates of change of OHC will be presented.   However, we can also do this regionally and therefore provide a commentary on energy flows around the climate system.  In particular, new estimates will be shown of the changes in ocean heat transports in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which has a profound affect on decadal variability, not only for North America and Europe, but also around the planet.