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Maritime Forum

Map of the Week - Global Sea Surface Temperature Regional Trend

The map shows the spatial distribution of the mean sea surface temperature trends over the Global Ocean since 1993. Sea surface temperature is one of the Essential Climate Variables, defined by the Global Climate Observing System, required for...


This was the second week of COP27 and climate change talks have focused on, amongst other objectives, implementation of climate mitigation to limit the average rise in temperature to 1.5 °C compared to pre-industrial levels as agreed in the Paris Agreement. This limit is important because climate scientists say temperature rises must slow down if we want to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. They say that near-term actions that limit global warming to close to 1.5°C would substantially reduce projected losses and damages related to climate change in human systems and ecosystems, compared to higher warming levels. [1,2] Global warming has direct observable impacts on the ocean. [3] Global mean sea surface temperature (SST) has increased since the pre-industrial era. All European seas have warmed. The Baltic Sea and the North Sea have seen the largest absolute increase.[4]

The Map of the Week focuses on the global sea surface temperature regional trend. The time series over the period 1993-2018 shows that the average global sea surface temperature has risen by more than 0.3 °C since the early 1990s and continues to rise at an unprecedented rate of 0.014 ± 0.001 °C per year. Sea surface temperature does not rise homogeneously and thus some regions are more threatened than others. The map reveals that warming is occurring for the vast majority of the globe between 1993 and 2018. One of the exceptions to this trend is the North Atlantic, particularly the region south of Greenland where a cooling trend is observed. Monitoring of these global changes is more important than ever, in order to be able to understand, predict and limit their effects. Open access to data and communication of this information to everyone interested in the ocean and climate is key to climate action. Allowing everyone to visualise ocean data and to learn about the impacts of climate change on the ocean is the purpose of the European Atlas of the Seas.

Did you know that the Atlas participates in conferences and events to meet with, for example, marine science educators, teachers, professional communicators working in marine institutes, governmental bodies and Non-Governmental Organizations, and marine scientists? On 18 November 2022, the Atlas will be presented at the 4thScientix International Conference. On 30 November – 1 December 2022, it will participate in the 5th International Marine Science Communication Conference - CommOcean 2022 - to discuss with participants the added value of using the Atlas, recent developments and opportunities for users to provide feedback. Do you also wish to contribute to the Atlas? Send us your feedback too via the online feedback form available in the Atlas. And, if you are a teacher, consider participating in the Climate Education Challenge "Be a Scientist! Map climate change in seas and waterways' with your students! Schools across Europe are invited to measure the surface water temperature of a nearby sea, river, lake or pond and submit their data online by 31 March 2023 to contribute to a new map in the European Atlas of the Seas!

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The data in the map are provided by Copernicus Marine Service.