Sea Surface Temperatures
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.
Date Range: 1880 - 2021
Global sea surface temperatures are rising
During the past four decades, sea surface temperatures have exceeded the 20th century average every year and are now higher than at any other time since records began.
About Sea Surface TemperaturesThe data shown represent temperatures in the upper 10 meters of the ocean and were drawn from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) NOAAGlobalTemp dataset.
Why It's Important
- Changes in sea surface temperatures reflect the overall warming trend in the climate system and, in turn, influence weather and climate patterns worldwide.
- Sea surface temperature data can be used to understand the response of the ocean to global warming The observed increase in average temperature near the Earth’s surface and in the lowest layer of the atmosphere. In common usage, “global warming” often refers to the warming that has occurred as a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. Global warming is a type of climate change; it can also lead to other changes in climate conditions, such as changes in precipitation patterns.and, in turn, how that response may influence other changes in climate.