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Comparison between Solar Radiation Absorption (ASR) and Earth's Energy Imbalance (EEI) based on measurement accuracy

Motto: A measuring device is a device that measures incorrectly. It is essential to know the measurement error.


The temperature of our planet Tellus has had two significant features in this millennium. Firstly, there was the so-called "temperature pause", or just "pause" for short, between 2000 and 2014 and then there was a strong warming that culminated in 2023. Figure 1.

Figure 1. The temperature trend according to the GISS temperature series and the change in solar radiation received by the Earth.

Both events have baffled the IPCC and climate scientists who supports it. More than 200 scientific articles were published on the causes of the pause. In respected scientific journals the following explanations were suggested: pause is not real but fits within the limits of models, pause is real, CO2 climate sensitivity has decreased, absorption of solar radiation (ASR) has decreased, volcanic activity, change in aerosol amount, ENSO effect, PDO, AMO, heat has gone into the deep sea, Ref. 1. After 2015-2016, warming began, which was easily explained by IPCC climate models, Figure 2.


Figure 2. Temperatures are calculated and observed using IPCC climate models.

According to IPCC report AR5 published in 2013, the observed temperature was 0.85 °C, but the temperature calculated by the models was 1.17 °C, which is 37% too high. This matter was kept quiet because the media did not understand or request.

In 2021, report AR6 was published, in which the IPCC decided to take advantage of global warming to 1.29°C because climate models ended up at 1.27°C.  So almost perfect result at last. But even this time, the IPCC remained silent on why only in a few years the global temperature rose far too quickly for greenhouse gases to explain the 0.44°C rise. The IPCC had noticed that the media cannot calculate basic mathematics and the media did not ask questions. So climate scientists remain silent.

Phenomena that have occurred since 2014

CERES satellite measurements became operational in March 2000. They were 2-4 times more accurate than previous measurements of the ERBE satellite system, Reference 2. CERES measurements showed conclusively that the absorption of solar radiation (ASR = Absorbed Solar Radiation) received by the Earth had increased. This was not mainly due to an increase in total solar radiation (TSI=Total Solar Radiation), even though the solar cycle is in an increasing phase. The probable reason was a decrease in the total reflection or albedo in the Earth's atmosphere, which in turn is most likely due to a decrease in cloud cover.

At this point, it is good to mention that about 340 W/m2 of the solar radiation coming to the Earth, about 30 % (100 W/m2) is reflected into space. The reflection happens like this: clouds 60%, the earth's surface 23% and atmospheric aerosols and particles 17%. The Earth's temperature is sensitive to changes in cloud cover. Using different calculation methods, the undersigned and Professor Kauppinen have come to the same estimate quite accurately, that a change of one per cent in cloudiness causes a temperature change of 0.1 degrees Celcius. NASA's CERES program director Norman Loeb and his team have written several articles on the increase in solar radiation absorption ASR, and Figure 3 shows their views on the matter.

Figure 3. Norman Loeb's presentation of the change in the Earth's energy balance (EEI = The Earth's Energy Imbalance), Reference 3.

Loeb's explanation is an old one from the days of pause, that yes, the Sun has provided more energy to the Earth, but it has not warmed the climate because the heat has gone into the deep ocean, according to Figure 3. This result has also been justified by deep-sea temperature measurements (blue curve in Figure 3). This explanation worked, at least seemingly very well, until 2019, because it supported the temperature calculated by the IPCC climate models when the ASR temperature effect was omitted from the models. Who would miss that? Besides, a contrarian by name Ollila, who already included the ASR factor in his 2020 publications. The article by Loeb et al. (Ref. 3) contains a minimal analysis of an error analysis without any numerical error values since there is an essential problem with the measurement accuracies in calculating the EEI.

Then came 2023, when temperature measurements showed that the temperature rose by 0.27 °C per year, but according to IPCC climate models, greenhouse gases could only increase by +0.02 °C (Ollila, Ref. 4). NASA's Gavin Schmidt went on to admit in an article in the journal Nature that we are on unknown territory. By the way, the matter has been explained by the standard explanation given by climate scientists that there have been so-called natural fluctuations caused by "natural factors". It is easy to agree with this that this is the name of this phenomenon and it has a name, which is the absorption of solar radiation = ASR.

So the problem last year was that the old explanation of heat going into the oceans no longer worked. That card had already been used because the temperature had risen rapidly, which greenhouse gases could not explain even with the IPCC way of calculation. What can we do? Then another familiar method was introduced: silence to death. The media does not know how to calculate or they do not ask.

A few publications have suggested a couple of other explanations for the temperature rise, which should now be commented on. Limiting sulphur emissions from ships through international legal measures has been suggested as one possible reason for the decrease in cloudiness. Rantanen & Laaksonen (Ref. 5) have suggested that this effect as a radiative forcing was only a modest 0.02–0.06 W/m2, i.e. a temperature effect of 0.01 °C – 0.03 °C.   However, the use of coal and the resulting particulate emissions have continued to grow. China and India, for example, are building more and more coal-fired power plants. China's own coal production grew by 2.9% in 2023, while energy production grew by 8% and is mainly based on the use of coal. It is safe to estimate that particulate emissions from China's coal use more than compensate for particulate particle emission drops due to ship fuel composition.

The Hunga-Tonga water vapour eruption into the stratosphere in January 2022 has been another popular explanation for the rise in temperature in 2023. The eruption of H-T should have been reflected in a sudden increase in the greenhouse effect. If this had happened, according to the mechanism of the greenhouse effect, there should have been a noticeable downward shift in the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) emitted into space by the Earth. Figures 4 and 5 show that there was a small downward spike in the OLR, which can be interpreted as related to the effect of H-T. Rantanen and Laaksonen estimated that this effect was also very small at 0.02–0.06 W/m2, i.e. at the same temperature of 0.01–0.03 degrees, which is difficult to detect in temperature measurements.

Analysis of measurement accuracies in energy balance imbalance and solar absorption

I find that I have finally got to the heart of my blog. I've used quite a lot of arguments for the Introduction, but I'm doing it to popularize the science of climate change because I think these things are not self-evident to laypeople, they need to be reminded.

CERES satellite measurements are carried out using the Terra and Aqua satellites, which cross the equator at 10:30 in the morning and at 1:30 at night. They orbit the Earth in sun-synchronized orbits at an altitude of 705 km. This means that they orbit through the poles at the same speed as the Earth rotates around its poles, making a total of four measurements per region of the Earth they cross during the day.

Satellites measure shortwave solar radiation from the Sun (SWin or TSI), shortwave radiation reflected by the Earth (SWup), and longwave radiation emitted by the Earth (LW). Without going into detail about these measurements, the CERES team calculates the radiation levels of the entire globe and regions with an accuracy of one longitude versus one latitude.

For analysing the accuracy of CERES measurements, it is essential to know that measurements are made in three wavelength ranges: 0.3–5 μm (shortwave radiation), 0.3–100 μm (total longwave radiation) and 8–12 μm (longwave radiation range of the atmospheric window). The accuracy of these measurements is maintained applying an internal calibration unit capable of eliminating changes caused by electronics drift and optic fouling with an accuracy of 0,2 % (Reference 2).

It should be noted that the most important factor in terms of the overall accuracy of measurements is the fact that it is not possible to measure the entire surface of the Earth all the time. Thus, e.g. changes in cloud cover and changes in the temperature of the earth's surface may cause changes in the intervals between measurement events that cannot be observed and must be estimated by calculation methods. Thus, it is finally estimated that the overall accuracy of radiation measurements is at least in the order of +/- 2%, which is considered sufficient for research work (Reference 2).

Error calculations using the most pessimistic approach

It is assumed that SWin, SWup and LW measurements can be carried out with an accuracy of 0.2%. SW measurements are made with the same instrument, the measurement scale of which must be at least 1370 W/m2, resulting in a measurement accuracy of 0.002*1370 = 2.74 W/m2 for both SW (=TSI measurement) and SWup measurements. I assume that the scale of the LW measurement is 300 W/m2, in which case its accuracy is 0.6 W/m2. When calculating the average accuracy of the Earth's balance imbalance EEI, then it is the result of a combination of three measurements. According to the principles of calculating measurement inaccuracy, the error increases if it is the computational product of three different measurements, and the error of this quantity should be calculated by a formula that takes the square root from the sum of the two powers of the known errors:

Total error = square root (V1^2 + V2^2 +V3^2),

where V1 is the measurement error of solar radiation 2.74 W/m2, V2 is the measurement error of solar radiation reflection 2.74 W/m2, and V3 is the measurement error of OLR radiation 0.6 W/m2. Using these values, the total error estimate for calculating the EEI is as high as 3.9 W/m2 and there is no basis for the EEI analysis, as shown in Figure 3.

Does a TSI measurement error of 2.74 W/m2 sound very high? In the light of the measurement history, it is not at all overrated. Note 6 summarises the measurement results of the measurement series in use, the TSI levels of which are roughly as follows:

- ERB 1980-1990: 1372 W/m2

- ACRIM V1 1980-1990: 1368 W/m2

- NOAA9 1985-2005: 1365 W/m2

- ACRIM V2 1990-2000: 1364 W/m2

- SORCE 1995-2015: 1361 W/m2

-CERES 2000-2024: 1360 W/m2 or 340 W/m2 (per the area oif the Earth)

As you can see, the level of solar radiation has become lower and lower. Which of these measurements is most correct? We believe it is a CERES measurement series because it is the latest.

Optimistic error calculations

Suppose that both SW and LW measurements are internally accurate (precision), but externally they have inaccuracies. Let me illustrate this with the case of plank surveyors. There are two measuring tapes, each with a manufacturing defect so that the exact measurement scale starts at 1 cm, i.e. the plank sawer makes planks 101 cm long when using this measuring tape, even though the intention was to make planks 100 cm long.

The task of the plank sawer is to make planks 240 cm long, sawn from logs cut by the cutting machine, the length of which varies between 345-355 cm.  The plank cutter first measures the length of 340 cm and cuts the plank at this point, but due to an error in the measuring tape, the length of the plank becomes 341 cm. After that, he measures 100 cm and cuts it off, but in reality, he cuts off 101 cm. When the remaining long plank is checked with a precise tape measure, its length is 341-101 = 240 cm, which is correct. When the check surveyor checks the length of this longer plank with a similar defective measuring tape, he gets a length of 239 cm.

In the case of a measuring tape, the cause of the measurement error is easy to find, but in the case of radiation measurements made by satellites, the situation is difficult, as evidenced by the historical values of these measurements. Radiation monitoring instruments may have a zero point error (an external error occurs) as shown on a tape measure, in which case it produces measurement results that are accurately reproducible (internal accuracy, i.e. repeatability) and, above all, the differences in their measurement values are very accurate. Since SW measurements are made with the same instrument that has been calibrated accurately, the difference in measurement results, i.e. ASR, can be very accurate. Instead, the LW measurement is done with a different instrument, and then the two instruments must also be externally very accurate, or else their measurement results will not match. Therefore, there is every reason to suspect that a significant measurement error is involved in the energy imbalance measurement (EEI). Figure 4 shows the radiation values ASR, OLR and their separation EEI from 2000 to 2024.

Figure 4. The absorbed solar radiation trend ASR, the longwave radiation going into space trend OLR and the EEI trend of the Earth's energy imbalance.

Figure 4 shows that OLR follows ASR changes as it should, but there is a level difference between them, or EEI. Given the measurement accuracy, the essential question is whether this difference in EEI is real, or whether it is wholly or partly due to measurement inaccuracies.

What will be left of these simplistic miscalculations? The firm conclusion can be drawn that the accuracy of ASR measurement is always better than the accuracy of EEI calculation. Interestingly, leading climate scientists have gone to great lengths to prove that imbalances have arisen in the Earth's energy balance in the 2000s. What they have not been interested in is that the same measurements show that the Earth has received additional energy from solar radiation, which correlates remarkably well with the Earth's increased temperature. The reason is the fact that it is part of the IPCC and official climate science to deny all effects of natural climate factors, both in the short and long term. Figure 5 gives slightly different information about the Earth's energy imbalance.

Figure 5. The Earth's Energy Imbalance, ASR, and LW radiation anomalies according to 5-month averaging.

According to Figure 5, the average ASR monthly deviations for the period 2001-2023 is 0.05 W/m2 and the corresponding average of LW monthly deviations is 0.01 W/m2. According to these values, there would be practically no imbalance in the Earth's energy balance. Quite a possible explanatory factor is that SW and LW measurements are not accurate enough externally. This means that it is possible that the LW measurements give an absolute measurement value, which can be up to 1 W/m2 erroneous, but the SW measurements are accurate, especially the ASR measurement result. This is strongly supported by the fact that there is little difference in the long-term sums of the anomalies of SW and LW measurements. It is analogous to the case of the plank surveyor, which I described.

Interestingly, in the second half of 2023, the OLR radiation anomaly came to almost the same positive level as the ASR deviation. If this were absolutely true, then the Earth has acted as it should, radiating into space the amount of energy it has received from the Sun. I would remind you that the magnitude of the greenhouse effect has no bearing on this aspect.

Effects of aerosols and clouds on global temperature

Since the IPCC has not taken into account the increase in solar radiation received by the Earth since 2014, it is worth reviewing how the IPCC has dealt with the effect of cloudiness. Figure 6 shows that the IPCC has calculated that the effect of aerosols and cloudiness had a negative impact on global temperature between 2011 and 2019: radiative forcing decreased from -0.82 W/m2 to -1.0 W/m2, which caused a temperature drop of 0.07 °C.  In other words, exactly the opposite of what happened in reality. The IPCC is used to apply this quantity as a kind of tuning parameter to adjust the total warming to the desired value.

Figure 6. Warming caused by radiative forcings in reports AR5 and AR6.

How do aerosols and clouds affect global temperature? It is known that clouds can both warm and cool the climate. Clouds absorb a significant amount of infrared radiation emitted by the Earth: according to the undersigned, they account for 20% and 13% for CO2 in this event, while Schmidt et al. have values of 25% and 19% respectively (different calculation basis for CO2). In the greenhouse effect, more clouds mean more thermal impact.

When it comes to receiving the Earth's energy, the opposite is true. More clouds means less solar energy. The Earth's energy balance for three different cloudiness covers shows that during average cloudiness, i.e. approximately 67%, the Earth receives 240 W/m2 of solar energy, 226 W/m2 in completely cloudy conditions and 268 W/m2 in cloudless conditions. If these extremes prevailed all the time, then in cloudy conditions the temperature of the Earth would inevitably drop significantly, and in cloudless conditions, it would rise correspondingly.

As the absorption of solar radiation increases, it is now essential to understand how the decrease in cloud cover affects the matter. When the Earth receives more solar energy, it directly affects the Earth's surface temperature, and also indirectly the atmosphere warms up because about 30% of solar radiation is absorbed into the atmosphere.

What happens to the absorption of infrared radiation emitted by the Earth when cloudiness decreases slightly? Loeb et al. (Ref. 3) have stated that ASR has increased mainly due to reductions in low cloud cover. On the other hand, Trenberth and Fasullo (Ref. 7) have found that the amount of low cloud cover has no significant effect on the absorption of infrared radiation. These facts explain why it is likely that the reduction in lower cloud cover has caused a significant increase in solar radiation absorption. It should also be mentioned that Marsh & Svensmark (2000) have found that changes in cosmic radiation affect precisely changes in the amount of low cloud cover.

Final Remark

Climate scientists and the IPCC have deliberately ignored the increase in solar radiation absorption (ASR) in the rise in global temperatures since 2014. However, climate scientists have accepted the Earth's energy balance imbalance (EEI) as an explanation, even though its measurement inaccuracy is a more serious problem than ASR measurement problems. The similarity of the sums of the anomalies of SW and LW measurements is a sign that there is probably an error in absolute, that is, external accuracy, between SW and LW measurements.

Figure 7. Temperature GISS, the combined temperature effect of ASR and ENSO, OLR.

Finally, Figure 7, that shows that climate behaviour can be explained by simple basic variables that have been correctly selected and whose impact has been calculated correctly. In the short term, the temperature of the Earth's climate is dominated by the absorption of solar radiation and the ENSO effect, but not by CO2. Radiation going into space follows the change in the Earth's surface temperature quite well, as it should according to Planck's law of radiation (blue curve). It is natural that OLR radiation does not accurately follow the rapid changes in the absorption of incoming solar radiation. This is ensured by the two dynamic elements of the Earth: the mixing layer of the seas and the Earth's surface of the Earth. They filter out small changes.  You won't find Figure 7 in the media, IPCC or climate scientists' publications.


1.        Ollila, 2020. The pause end and major temperature impacts during super El Ninos are due to shortwave radiation anomalies.

2.        Priestley et al., 2011,  Radiometric Performance of the CERES Earth Radiation Budget Climate Record Sensors on the EOS Aqua and Terra Spacecraft through April 2007,

3.        Loeb et al. 2021, Satellite and Ocean Data Reveal Marked Increase in Earth’s Heating Rate,


4.      A. Ollila, The 2023 record temperatures: correlation to absorbed shortwave radiation anomaly, Science of Climate Change, Vol. 4.1,  (2024).


5.      Rantanen ja Laaksonen, 2024, The jump in global temperatures in September 2023 is extremely unlikely due to internal climate variability alone. npj Clim. Atmos. Sci. 7, 34 (2024).


7.        Trenberth KE, Fassullo JT, 2009: Global warming due to increasing absorbed solar radiation. Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L07706.



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