Plateau in Ocean Air Temps

Science Matters

Years ago, Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. explained why sea surface temperatures (SST) were the best indicator of heat content gained or lost from earth’s climate system.  Enthalpy is the thermodynamic term for total heat content in a system, and humidity differences in air parcels greatly affect enthalpy.  Measuring water temperature directly avoids this distortion in air measurements.  In addition, ocean covers 71% of the planet surface and thus dominates surface temperature estimates.

More recently, Dr. Ole Humlum reported from his research that air temperatures lag 2-3 months behind changes in SST.  He also observed that changes in CO2 atmospheric concentrations lag behind SST by 11-12 months.  This latter point is addressed in a previous post Who to Blame for Rising CO2?

The April update to HadSST3 will appear later this month, but in the meantime we can look at lower troposphere temperatures (TLT) from UAHv.6 which are already posted for…

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