Another temperature record broken, but we need to remember the distinction between heat energy and temperature.  It takes a lot more heat energy to raise a volume of water 1 degree than it takes to raise the same volume of dry land five degrees.

One methodological problem is that the heat balance is an equation, energy in to the planet minus energy out.

In that equation, el nino is irrelevant.  It is a shift of currents that sends more heat towards where our sensors are.  Except to the degree it represents extra energy retained, what el nino actually tells us about is holes in our methodology and network of measurements.  Every year without el nino we are able to see less of how the excess energy is invested by the planet.  That represents a significant loss of information in ten out of every eleven years. 

It’s important that we sort this out, because if this is an el nino year, next year will probably be a bit cooler.  Some pressure will seem to come off. 

But these trends in surface temperatures only tell us something over very long trends because surface temperatures are volitile.

Conservation of energy tells us that as long as the energy balance is the same the additional energy will be somewhere, whether we are measuring it or not.


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