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Sea-Surface Temperature

  • Thomas M. SmithEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Handbook of Global Environmental Pollution book series (EGEP, volume 1)

Abstract

Since the oceans cover over two thirds of the Earth’s surface, sea-surface temperature (SST) is a critical measure of global temperature change. Natural patterns of interannual ocean-climate interactions such as the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) show the influence of SST variations on climate. Over longer periods the global SST has been warming since at least the nineteenth century, coincident with warming over land and changes in the Earth’s radiation balance caused by a buildup of greenhouse gases. There is evidence that one consequence of the longer-period warming may be a change in the intensity and frequency of natural SST variations, which will alter climate variations associated with those SST variations. Understanding how global warming may influence interannual SST variations is critical for improving climate prediction.

Keywords

Sea-surface temperature (SST) El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Climate 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank R. W. Reynolds and P. A. Arkin for reviewing this document and making suggestions for improvements. The contents of this paper are solely the opinions of the author and do not constitute a statement of policy, decision, or position on behalf of NOAA or the US Government.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NOAA, SCSB, STAR, NESDISCollege ParkUSA

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