Cooling Ocean Air Temps

by Ron Cruz, June 5, 2018 in ScienceMatters

Presently sea surface temperatures (SST) are the best available 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 affect enthalpy.  Measuring water temperature directly avoids distorted impressions from air measurements.  In addition, ocean covers 71% of the planet surface and thus dominates surface temperature estimates.  Eventually we will likely have reliable means of recording water temperatures at depth.

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 May update to HadSST3 will appear later this month, but in the meantime we can look at lower troposphere temperatures (TLT) from UAHv6 which are already posted for May. The temperature record is derived from microwave sounding units (MSU) on board satellites like the one pictured above… (…)