Borehole temperatures, climate change and the pre-observational surface air temperature mean: Allowance for hydraulic conditions

Louise Bodri, Vladimir Cermak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


Joint analysis of surface air temperature series recorded at weather stations together with the inversion of the temperature-depth profiles logged in the near-by boreholes enables an estimate of the conditions existing prior to the beginning of the meteorological observation, the so-called pre-observational mean (POM) temperature. Such analysis is based on the presumption of pure diffusive conditions in the underground. However, in real cases a certain subsurface fluid movement cannot be excluded and the measured temperature logs may contain an advective component. The paper addresses the correction for the hydraulic conditions, which may have perturbed the climate signal penetrating from the surface into the underground. The method accounts for vertical conductive and vertical advective heat transport in a 1-D horizontally layered stratum and provides a simultaneous evaluation of the POM-temperature together with the estimate of the Darcy fluid velocity. The correction strategy is illustrated on a synthetic example and its use is demonstrated on temperature logs measured in four closely spaced boreholes drilled near Tachlovice (located about 15 km SW of Prague, Czech Republic). The results revealed that in a case of moderately advectively affected subsurface conditions (fluid velocities about 10-9 m/s), the difference between POM-values assessed for a pure conductive approach and for combined vertical conductive/advective approach may amount up to 0.3-0.5 K, the value comparable with the amount usually ascribed to the 20th century climate warming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-276
Number of pages12
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


  • Advective temperature disturbances
  • Climate change
  • Global warming
  • Pre-observational mean
  • Subsurface temperature field
  • Surface air temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Oceanography

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