The earth’s energy imbalance is the difference between the amount of solar energy absorbed by the earth and the amount of energy the planet radiates back into space as heat. If the imbalance is positive, that is, if more energy is coming in than going out, then the earth will get warmer over time. If the imbalance is negative, then the planet will get cooler.
Anyone who has walked the streets of New York City or Washington, D.C. on a stifling summer day can attest to the fact that cities feel hotter. It’s not a matter of perception.