We have seen lots of claims about the temperature records for 2016 and 2015 proving dangerous man made warming. At least one senator stated that in a confirmation hearing. Now that HadSST3 data is complete through February 2017, let’s see how obvious is the ocean’s governing of global average temperatures.
The best context for understanding these last two years comes from the world’s sea surface temperatures (SST), for several reasons:
- The ocean covers 71% of the globe and drives average temperatures;
- SSTs have a constant water content, (unlike air temperatures), so give a better reading of heat content variations;
- A major El Nino was the dominant climate feature the last two years.
HadSST is generally regarded as the best of the global SST data sets, and so the temperature story here comes from that source, the latest version being HadSST3.
The chart below shows the last two years of SST…
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