Mar 18, 2024 - Technology

New tool takes the globe's "pulse" as temperatures rise

Chart showing global daily sea surface temperature departures from average in near-real-time.

Chart showing daily sea surface temperatures in 2024 to date, compared with the 1979-2024 period. Image: Copernicus Climate Change Service/Climate Pulse.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service has an intriguing new tool for tracking global average temperatures.

Why it matters: The aptly named "Climate Pulse" allows the public to keep tabs on global air temperature trends and anomalies, as well as ocean temperatures.

Zoom in: A big question facing climate scientists for the second half of this year is whether global average surface temperature anomalies will lessen from the incredible heights reached in 2023, especially with the expected arrival of a La Niña event in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

  • Typically with La Niña episodes, this does take place, since they bring cooler than average waters to the equatorial Pacific.
  • However, the warming seen last year during an El Niño, particularly in the oceans, was so unusually high that some scientists are paying extra close attention to this year's trends.

Yes, but: While Climate Pulse gives one the sense that they are monitoring the climate in real-time, it's important not to overemphasize day-to-day variability.

  • Instead, it's the longer-term trends that are more important in climate science, including annual and decadal timescales.
  • Still, keeping tabs on shorter-term trends has its pluses and can help people understand how unusual current conditions are compared with historical data.
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