Indicator : indicator-sea-surface-temperature-2018

Indicator: Sea Surface Temperatures

2018 indicator
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Key Points: 1. Changes in sea surface temperatures reflect the overall warming trend in the climate system and, in turn, influence weather and climate patterns worldwide. The bars on the graph show the number of degrees by which the average sea surface temperature for each year differs from the average sea surface temperature during the last century. 2. During the past three decades, sea surface temperatures have exceeded the last century’s average every year. 3. Sea surface temperature data can be used to understand the response of the ocean to global warming and, in turn, how that response may influence other changes in climate. Full Summary: Over 70% of Earth’s surface area is ocean, which plays a major role in regulating Earth’s climate system. Much of the heat trapped by increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas levels is absorbed by the ocean, causing ocean temperatures to rise. Changes in sea surface temperatures influence atmospheric circulation and the amount of water vapor present in the air, thereby affecting weather and climate patterns worldwide. The bars on the graph show the number of degrees by which the average sea surface temperature for each year differs from the average sea surface temperature during the last century. During the past three decades, global average sea surface temperatures have exceeded the last century’s average every year and have been higher than at any other time since records began. The data shown represent temperatures in the upper 10 meters of the ocean and were drawn from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Merged Land–Ocean Surface Temperature Analysis (MLOST) dataset. Sea surface temperature data can be used to understand the response of the ocean to global warming and, in turn, how that response may influence other changes in climate.

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http://www.globalchange.gov/browse/indicators/indicator-sea-surface-temperatures

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