Wide Misuse of Land + Sea Surface Temperature

Several of the major datasets that claim to represent “global average surface temperature” are directly or effectively averaging land air temperatures with sea surface temperatures. These are typically derived by weighting a global land average and global SST average according to the 30:70 land-sea geographical surface area ratio. However, there is very little consideration of whether such a result has any physical meaning and what, if anything, it means.

One thing it does not represent is a metric of global surface heat content. However, this is one of the most common uses for such data.

climategrog

Introduction

Several of the major datasets that claim to represent “global average surface temperature” are directly or effectively averaging land air temperatures with sea surface temperatures. These are typically derived by weighting a global land average and global SST average according to the 30:70 land-sea geographical surface area ratio. However, there is very little consideration of whether such a result has any physical meaning and what, if anything, it means.

One thing it does not represent is a metric of global surface heat content. However, this is ( often implicitly ) one of the most common uses for such data.

Temperatures don’t add !

In technical terms, temperature is not an extensive quantity. That is illustrated by the fact that if you have one bucket of water at 30 degrees Celsius and you add another bucket of water at 30 degrees Celsius, you do not end up with water at…

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