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  1. Abstract

    The global seasonal cycle of energy in Earth’s climate system is quantified using observations and reanalyses. After removing long-term trends, net energy entering and exiting the climate system at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) should agree with the sum of energy entering and exiting the ocean, atmosphere, land, and ice over the course of an average year. Achieving such a balanced budget with observations has been challenging. Disagreements have been attributed previously to sparse observations in the high-latitude oceans. However, limiting the local vertical integration of new global ocean heat content estimates to the depth to which seasonal heat energy is stored, rather than integrating to 2000 m everywhere as done previously, allows closure of the global seasonal energy budget within statistical uncertainties. The seasonal cycle of energy storage is largest in the ocean, peaking in April because ocean area is largest in the Southern Hemisphere and the ocean’s thermal inertia causes a lag with respect to the austral summer solstice. Seasonal cycles in energy storage in the atmosphere and land are smaller, but peak in July and September, respectively, because there is more land in the Northern Hemisphere, and the land has more thermal inertia than the atmosphere. Global seasonal energy storage by ice is small, so the atmosphere and land partially offset ocean energy storage in the global integral, with their sum matching time-integrated net global TOA energy fluxes over the seasonal cycle within uncertainties, and both peaking in April.

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  2. null (Ed.)
    The Mediterranean Sea can be viewed as a “barometer” of the North Atlantic Ocean, because its sea level responds to oceanic-gyre-scale changes in atmospheric pressure and wind forcing, related to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The climate of the North Atlantic is influenced by the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) as it transports heat from the South Atlantic toward the subpolar North Atlantic. This study reports on a teleconnection between the AMOC transport measured at 26.5°N and the Mediterranean Sea level during 2004–17: a reduced/increased AMOC transport is associated with a higher/lower sea level in the Mediterranean. Processes responsible for this teleconnection are analyzed in detail using available satellite and in situ observations and an atmospheric reanalysis. First, it is shown that on monthly to interannual time scales the AMOC and sea level are both driven by similar NAO-like atmospheric circulation patterns. During a positive/negative NAO state, stronger/weaker trade winds (i) drive northward/southward anomalies of Ekman transport across 26.5°N that directly affect the AMOC and (ii) are associated with westward/eastward winds over the Strait of Gibraltar that force water to flow out of/into the Mediterranean Sea and thus change its average sea level. Second, it is demonstrated that interannual changes in the AMOC transport can lead to thermosteric sea level anomalies near the North Atlantic eastern boundary. These anomalies can (i) reach the Strait of Gibraltar and cause sea level changes in the Mediterranean Sea and (ii) represent a mechanism for negative feedback on the AMOC. 
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  3. Abstract. The Earth climate system is out of energy balance, and heat hasaccumulated continuously over the past decades, warming the ocean, the land,the cryosphere, and the atmosphere. According to the Sixth Assessment Reportby Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,this planetary warming over multiple decades is human-driven and results inunprecedented and committed changes to the Earth system, with adverseimpacts for ecosystems and human systems. The Earth heat inventory providesa measure of the Earth energy imbalance (EEI) and allows for quantifyinghow much heat has accumulated in the Earth system, as well as where the heat isstored. Here we show that the Earth system has continued to accumulateheat, with 381±61 ZJ accumulated from 1971 to 2020. This is equivalent to aheating rate (i.e., the EEI) of 0.48±0.1 W m−2. The majority,about 89 %, of this heat is stored in the ocean, followed by about 6 %on land, 1 % in the atmosphere, and about 4 % available for meltingthe cryosphere. Over the most recent period (2006–2020), the EEI amounts to0.76±0.2 W m−2. The Earth energy imbalance is the mostfundamental global climate indicator that the scientific community and thepublic can use as the measure of how well the world is doing in the task ofbringing anthropogenic climate change under control. Moreover, thisindicator is highly complementary to other established ones like global meansurface temperature as it represents a robust measure of the rate of climatechange and its future commitment. We call for an implementation of theEarth energy imbalance into the Paris Agreement's Global Stocktake based onbest available science. The Earth heat inventory in this study, updated fromvon Schuckmann et al. (2020), is underpinned by worldwide multidisciplinarycollaboration and demonstrates the critical importance of concertedinternational efforts for climate change monitoring and community-basedrecommendations and we also call for urgently needed actions for enablingcontinuity, archiving, rescuing, and calibrating efforts to assure improvedand long-term monitoring capacity of the global climate observing system. The data for the Earth heat inventory are publicly available, and more details are provided in Table 4. 
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