Scientists' Explanation for Exploration 1

A Comparison of Land and Ocean Temperature Anomalies

Global sea surface temperature has increased in a similar trend as the global mean temperature. However, temperatures over land have increased more rapidly than those over the oceans. As you learned previously, water has a high heat capacity, which means that it takes more heat energy to raise water’s temperature than it does to raise most other substances. Hence, water can absorb or release a lot of heat with little temperature change. This means that over time, the temperature of water varies less than land. You can see that the ocean temperature anomaly varies less than that of the land on the time series graph.