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Solid Earth An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Solid Earth, 1, 5-24, 2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
22 Feb 2010
Earth's surface heat flux
J. H. Davies1 and D. R. Davies2 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.

Citation: Davies, J. H. and Davies, D. R.: Earth's surface heat flux, Solid Earth, 1, 5-24,, 2010.
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