by John Abraham, "Climate Consensus -- The 97%," The Guardian, February 20, 2014
Separating the human and natural influences on the climate is a tough task. On the other hand, because it is exciting, scientists around the world are working on it every day. One of the most active questions scientists are trying to answer right now is, how much excess energy is the Earth gaining? Quantifying this excess energy and where it ends up, often called balancing the Earth's energy budget, is crucial for understanding the future of the planet.
"Temperatures were below normal globally and January 2008 was the coldest month relative to normal this century. This led to lower outgoing energy but was accompanied by an increase in absorbed energy, as clouds decreased in amount, leaving a pronounced heating of the planet for about a year during 2008-2009. Moreover, as shown above, ocean temperatures for the upper 700 meters from 2005-2008 suggested a substantial slowing of the increase in ocean heat content precisely during the time when satellite estimates depict an increase in planetary energy imbalance, compounding the difficulty. So, where did the heat go?"