Earth's surface heat flux
- 1School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University, Main Building, Park Place, Cardiff, CF103YE, Wales, UK
- 2Department of Earth Science & Engineering, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London, SW72AZ, UK
Abstract. We present a revised estimate of Earth's surface heat flux that is based upon a heat flow data-set with 38 347 measurements, which is 55% more than used in previous estimates. Our methodology, like others, accounts for hydrothermal circulation in young oceanic crust by utilising a half-space cooling approximation. For the rest of Earth's surface, we estimate the average heat flow for different geologic domains as defined by global digital geology maps; and then produce the global estimate by multiplying it by the total global area of that geologic domain. The averaging is done on a polygon set which results from an intersection of a 1 degree equal area grid with the original geology polygons; this minimises the adverse influence of clustering. These operations and estimates are derived accurately using methodologies from Geographical Information Science. We consider the virtually un-sampled Antarctica separately and also make a small correction for hot-spots in young oceanic lithosphere. A range of analyses is presented. These, combined with statistical estimates of the error, provide a measure of robustness. Our final preferred estimate is 47±2 TW, which is greater than previous estimates.