In regard to sea surface temperature (SST), as one travels toward the polar regions, there is a trend toward warmer temperatures. This is due to two things: 1) increased heat transfer between the land and ocean as one travels toward the poles, and 2) decreased heat transfer as one moves away from the poles due to temperature drops in the ocean.
The second type of temperature decrease occurs at night when heat goes out of the ocean. This happens due to decreased albedo (reflectivity) and increased lighting within the ocean, which causes cooling.
This article will talk about how this happens and what it means for SSTs in regards to traveling north or south. It will also talk about possible ramifications on life forms such as organisms and humans who live near these systems.
Stays the same
As one travels toward the poles, the temperature stays the same. This is also the case when one travels east or west.
The earth’s heat is constant and distributed throughout its composition. As one moves farther east or west, one is passing through more cold and icy regions which require heavier clothing and/or more winter gear.
This does not mean that one should not prepare for what lies ahead, however. Plenty of people are preparing for what they believe will be a long winter season by building underground stores of food and water, caching shelter sites with friends and family, and by learning how to use the weather properly (i.e., staying warm when it snowed or re-learning how to use fireplace safety rules).
As the planet continues to warm, temperature records continue to be broken. Some of these record breaks occurred due to increased surface temperatures.
In October of 2016, Greenland had a record high temperature of 7 degrees Fahrenheit. This was an impressive accomplishment as it took years for this region to gain enough snow to record a high temperature!
In November of 2016, Antarctica had a record high temperature of 10 degrees Celsius. This was even more impressive as there was no recorded weather there for months prior! This is rare, as most records are established within the year or two after they are recorded.
These two regions had plenty of reasons to break their records this month.
Convection occurs more often
Convection occurs more often in the stratosphere than in the troposphere. This is due to warmer air being forced to rise on a convection current, and then being cooled by the retreating sea surface temperature.
This occurs due to changes in weather conditions such as humidity and air pollution. As the stratospheric convection current moves away from Earth, it becomes less prevalent and even disappears for a brief time.
This happens once every few years, sometimes as much as six months apart. During this time, one has no convection to guide the movement of air. This can be very frustrating for those who are traveling!
However, once it returns, it does so with perfect timing! This proves how important this phenomenon is for our planet’s climate system.
Warmer waters attract water vapor
As one travels through temperate zones, one can see that warmer regions have more water vapor. This is because water is a conductor, and therefore allows for better transport of heat.
When temperatures are cool, water contains heat better than air. As the air temperature rises, so does the amount of moisture in the air, which is why we sometimes see thunderstorms in warm temperatures.
Warming temperatures also promote evaporative cooling, where cool air is cooled by excess water within it. This occurs more prominently when there are clouds present to capture the sun’s rays, as there are during spring and summer weather events.
Consumers can find both outdoor thermometers and indoor assessors that measure evaporative cooling. For example, hardware stores often have such products for sale.
Cooler waters lose water vapor
As one travels toward the poles, ones traveling in a southerly or a southerly-style westerly wind, the waters cooler down. This is due to decreased temperatures of the water.
When water is cooler, it loses its shape and thickness as it loses heat. This happens mostly in large bodies of water such as oceans, lakes, and rivers. When smaller bodies of water do not have enough energy to cool down, they lose their shape and thickness.
This happens when people travel near the poles because at those latitudes, it is colder than North America and southern Europe during winter months.
Ocean currents influence SST
There are many factors that shape the climate of the ocean, including currents. The tilt and movement of ocean floor and volcanoes affects temperature and circulation.
As one travels toward the poles, SSTs change due to changes in circulation and floor tilt. As these changes occur, they vary between regions, making it important to understand how one travels toward the poles.
For example, during periods of cold polar warming, such as during the Eemian period approximately 2 million years ago, southward flow occurred across much of the Arctic Ocean. This movement is no longer occurring during warm periods, indicating that movement may be related to temperature.
As one travels toward the poles, temperature affects depth at which ice covers a body of water. During cold phases of warming, more water is exposed than during warm phases due to this effect.
Sea ice affects SST
As one travels toward the poles, the temperature drops. This is due to the fact that there is less sea ice around. This is also an effect of traveling farther away from land and into the unknown.
As one moves closer and closer to the poles, their SST decreases due to less ice and weather conditions becoming more extreme. This can have a negative affect on your health, as you spend more time outside in warmer temperatures!
It is important to remember that our body uses heat when we are human. When we are outside in summer time periods, we need to be cautious about how much we are using heat!
Human Heat Demand (HWD) ranges from 3 – 4 times a day (depending on what part of your body needs it). If you were sleeping at home, then you would only need HWD twice per night (unless you were exposed to extreme heat).
Sunlight affects SST
As one travels toward the poles, away from the sunlight, the sea surface temperature goes down. This is due to nighttime temperatures being lower and sunlight hitting the water without warming it up.
This is also an effect of traveling east to west, as opposed to north to south. As one heads east, the sun is later in its journey and stays below the horizon longer.
As one heads west, the sun gets up earlier and goes down later! This is an effect of people living closer to the sun back then having longer days.
How much SST you are exposed to depends on where you are on earth and how much SST you have back then.