Citizen science projects have a long history in ecological studies. The research usefulness of such projects is dependent on applying simple and standardized methods. Here, we conducted a citizen science project that involved more than 3500 Swedish high school students to examine the temperature difference between surface water and the overlying air (T-w-T-a) as a proxy for sensible heat flux (Q(H)). If Q(H) is directed upward, corresponding to positive T-w-T-a, it can enhance CO2 and CH4 emissions from inland waters, thereby contributing to increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The students found mostly negative T-w-T-a across small ponds, lakes, streams/rivers and the sea shore (i.e. downward Q(H)), with T-w-T-a becoming increasingly negative with increasing T-a. Further examination of T-w-T-a using high-frequency temperature data from inland waters across the globe confirmed that T-w-T-a is linearly related to T-a. Using the longest available high-frequency temperature time series from Lake Erken, Sweden, we found a rapid increase in the occasions of negative T-w-T-a with increasing annual mean T-a since 1989. From these results, we can expect that ongoing and projected global warming will result in increasingly negative T-w-T-a, thereby reducing CO2 and CH4 transfer velocities from inland waters into the atmosphere.