The best context for understanding decadal temperature changes 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 in recent 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. More on what distinguishes HadSST3 from other SST products at the end.
The Current Context
The chart below shows SST monthly anomalies as reported in HadSST3 starting in 2015 through April 2019. Hadley Centre did some technical upgrades and only now published results for March and April
A global cooling pattern is seen clearly in the Tropics since its peak in 2016…
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