February 2012 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomaly Update

By Bob Tisdale

OFF-TOPIC NEWS

Due to the popularity of If the IPCC was Selling Manmade Global Warming as a Product, Would the FTC Stop their Deceptive Ads? in .pdf form, I will be publishing a Kindle edition hopefully this week. The price of the Kindle edition will be $8.00, and the price of the .pdf edition will be raised to $10.00 in the next few days. Buy a copy in .pdf before the price doubles.

ABRUPT REBOUND IN GLOBAL SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES

The significant rise in global sea surface temperature anomalies was first shown in the PRELIMINARY February 2012 SST Anomaly Update. They warmed about 0.16 deg C in two weeks, and they’ve taken a quick downturn last week. They are presently at +0.168 deg C.

(15) Weekly Global Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

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Much of the warming took place in the eastern tropical Pacific and eastern South Pacific.

Animation 1

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NINO1+2 sea surface temperature anomalies have been near +1.0 deg C for the past few weeks. But there appears to be a significant seasonal component in NINO1+2 data so it’s a poor indicator.

(16) NINO1+2

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And part of the warming resulted from the decay of the La Niña. Weekly NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies had warmed well into ENSO-neutral temperatures, but have dropped just below the -0.5 deg C threshold again over the past week. They are now at -0.516 deg C.

(14) Weekly NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

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MONTHLY SST ANOMALY MAP

The following is a Global map of Reynolds OI.v2 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies for February 2012 downloaded from the NOMADS website. The contour levels are set at 0.5 deg C, and white is set at zero.

February 2012 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies Map

(Global SST Anomaly = +0.122 deg C)

MONTHLY OVERVIEW

The Monthly NINO3.4 SST Anomaly rebounded in February 2012 (about +0.373 deg C) to -0.663 deg C.

As a result, Global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies also warmed. A minor decline in the Northern Hemisphere data was overwhelmed by an increase in the Southern Hemisphere data. The monthly Global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies are presently at +0.122 deg C.

(1) Global Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

Monthly Change = +0.078 deg C

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(2) NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

(5S-5N, 170W-120W)

Monthly Change = +0.373 deg C

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THE EAST PACIFIC VERSUS THE REST OF THE WORLD

The East Pacific and the Rest-Of-The-World (Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific) datasets were first discussed in the post Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies – East Pacific Versus The Rest Of The World.Both datasets have been adjusted for the impacts of volcanic aerosols. The global oceans were divided into these two subsets to illustrate two facts. First, the linear trend of the volcano-adjusted East Pacific (90S-90N, 180-80W) Sea Surface Temperature anomalies since the start of the Reynolds OI.v2 dataset is basically flat. The East Pacific linear trend varies with each monthly update. But it won’t vary significantly between El Niño and La Niña events.

(3) Volcano-Adjusted East Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(90S-90N, 180-80W)

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And second, the volcano-adjusted Sea Surface Temperature anomalies for the Rest of the World (90S-90N, 80W-180) rise in very clear steps, in response to the significant 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Niño/La Niña events. It also appears as though the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies of this dataset are making another upward shift in response to the most recent ENSO event. For those who are interested in the actual trends of the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies between the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Niño events and between the 1997/98 and 2009/10 El Niño events refer to Figure 4 in Does The Sea Surface Temperature Record Support The Hypothesis Of Anthropogenic Global Warming? I further described (at an introductory level) the ENSO-related processes that cause these upward steps in the post ENSO Indices Do Not Represent The Process Of ENSO Or Its Impact On Global Temperature.

(4) Volcano-Adjusted Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies For The Rest of the World

(90S-90N, 80W-180)

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The periods used for the average Rest-Of-The-World Sea Surface Temperature anomalies between the significant El Niño events of 1982/83, 1986/87/88, 1997/98, and 2009/10 are determined as follows. Using the NOAA Oceanic Nino Index(ONI) for the official months of those El Niño events, I shifted (lagged) those El Niño periods by six months to accommodate the lag between NINO3.4 SST anomalies and the response of the Rest-Of-The-World Sea Surface Temperature anomalies, then deleted the Rest-Of-The-World data that corresponds to those significant El Niño events. I then averaged the Rest-Of-The-World SST anomalies between those El Niño-related gaps.

The “Nov 2010 to Present” average varies with each update. As noted in the post Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies – East Pacific Versus The Rest Of The World, it will be interesting to see where that Sea Surface Temperature anomaly average settles out, if it does, before the next significant El Niño drives them higher.

Of course, something could shift. Will the upward ratcheting continue when the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) decides to turn around and start its decline? The upward steps would not continue in the North Atlantic, but would the AMO impact the upward steps in other portions of the globe? For more information about the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, refer to the post An Introduction To ENSO, AMO, and PDO — Part 2.

The Sea Surface Temperature anomalies of the East Pacific Ocean, or approximately 33% of the surface area of the global oceans, have decreased slightly since 1982 based on the linear trend. And between upward shifts, the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies for the rest of the world (67% of the global ocean surface area) remain relatively flat. Anthropogenic forcings are said to be responsible for most of the rise in global surface temperatures over this period, but the Sea Surface Temperature anomaly graphs of those two areas prompt a two-part question: Since 1982, what anthropogenic global warming processes would overlook the Sea Surface Temperatures of 33% of the global oceans and have an impact on the other 67% but only during the months of the significant El Niño events of 1986/87/88, 1997/98 and 2009/10?

NOTE ABOUT THE DATA

The MONTHLY graphs illustrate raw monthly OI.v2 SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE anomaly data from November 1981 to February 2012, as it is presented by the NOAA NOMADS website linked at the end of the post. I’ve added the 13-month running-average filter to smooth out the seasonal variations.

MONTHLY INDIVIDUAL OCEAN AND HEMISPHERIC SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE UPDATES

(5) Northern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

Monthly Change = -0.021 deg C

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(6) Southern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

Monthly Change = +0.155 deg C

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(7) North Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(0 to 70N, 80W to 0)

Monthly Change = -0.048 deg C

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(8) South Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(0 to 60S, 70W to 20E)

Monthly Change = +0.125 deg C

Note: I discussed the (now apparently temporary) upward shift in the South Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature anomalies in the post The 2009/10 Warming Of The South Atlantic. It looks as though the South Atlantic sea surface temperature anomalies MAYreturn to the level they were at before that surge, and where they had been since the late 1980s. We’ll have to see where things settle.

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(9) North Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(0 to 65N, 100E to 90W)

Monthly Change = +0.032 Deg C

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(10) South Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(0 to 60S, 120E to 70W)

Monthly Change = +0.224 deg C

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(11) Indian Ocean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(60S to 30N, 20E to 120E)

Monthly Change = +0.063 deg C

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(12) Arctic Ocean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(65N to 90N)

Monthly Change = -0.005 deg C

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(13) Southern Ocean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(90S-60S)

Monthly Change = +0.026 deg C

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ABOUT: Bob Tisdale – Climate Observations

SOURCE

The Reynolds Optimally Interpolated Sea Surface Temperature Data (OISST) are available through the NOAA National Operational Model Archive & Distribution System (NOMADS).

http://nomad3.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh

23 thoughts on “February 2012 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomaly Update

  1. The shift in 2005/2006 for Northern Pacific and Northern Atlantic is more and more obvious. It is exactly a shift like in 1940, which was followed by 35 years of cooling. Northern hemisphere rides the “global” record.

  2. Thank goodness La Nina is effectively over. We are bone dry here in CA. Go El Nino! MJO get yo’ mojo!

  3. Bob: All very interesting, I just calculated that global temps will (no exception possible)
    go down by 0’1 C in this decade to 2010-20 and the SST will go down in decadal pace
    as well…
    ….. Could you perhaps include a second line like a 26 months-line, the 13 months line
    is not favourable to get clues on decadal time spans….Thanks, if possible….
    JS

  4. Saw a presentation at the Chicago Heartland event that tracked N. Pacific temps and said there was a roughly 18 year time lag from onset of a change at the equator to when it was fully reflected at Alaska.

    You might want to try breaking the Pacific up into latitude bands and seeing if they are more interesting in when bits “shift”.

  5. Figure 12, Arctic Ocean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies, exhibits an interesting change in character circa 2007. The summer increases are so pronounced, it suggests either a change/flaw in the methodology or a real change in the seasonality of the temperature anomalies. The Arctic remains the one basin that comports with the CAGW narrative. Because it seems to confirm the CO2 fetish, I fear that climate science will fail to identify the actual mechanisms for the apparent Arctic warming.

  6. Comment
    Quote “The monthly Global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies are presently at +0.122 deg C.” and others of similar ilk.????
    No matter how good sat data is I don’t believe that we can measure SST or anomalies to 1/1000 of a degree C accuracy. It is meaningless.
    However this is not to say all this post is flawed it’s not it’s great.

  7. Vive the warm current, I presume the East Aussie, sweeping the southern tip of New Zealand over summer. You could swim for ages without a wetsuit.

  8. When I was still teaching as a geology professor I often taught an introductory class that included a fair amount of weather and climate. When the whole AGW nonsense came on the scene I caught holy hell from my greenie students for telling the class that I didn’t believe a word of the narrative. Day after day they beat up on me for not jumping on the AGW bandwagon and not wanting to save the planet. At the close of class one day I told them that long before the class started I’d adjusted the thermostate so the classroom would warm up by the amount of global warming currently in vogue. I asked the large class (around 150 students) how many could notice the increase in “global warming” they experienced that day. Only the greenies said it was clearly a lot hotter. Most said it seemed the same. Of course I hadn’t touched the thermostat. Make what you will of that experiment. I still think even more that AGW is total crap.

  9. You might want to try breaking the Pacific up into latitude bands and seeing if they are more interesting in when bits “shift”.

    I think longitudes would also be interesting. More specifically, proximity to the east coast of continents.

    I think aerosol seeded cloud decreases are responsible for the bulk of the post-1960s measure land surface warming and the Arctic sea ice melt.

    Anthropogenic aerosols originate on land and any ocean warming would be primarily off the east coast of continents. I notice there are persistent warm anomalies off the east coast of both north and south America at temperate latitudes which is where most people live.

  10. Perhaps this has been commented upon:

    Each El Nino causes a significant temperature spike, but one which disappears in what appears to be a temperature drop, the following 18 months. The extra energy each spike represents disappears immediately and, perhaps, more. There must be a mechanism to rapidly transmit this energy into space as there is not a temperature spike INTO the ocean (by ARGO data) to match the El Nino surface spike.

    Trenberth, Hansen et al try to work out the Earth’s energy balance down to 0.3 W/m2 precision and accuracy. Does the outgoing data they have reveal this burst of cooling? And what is the nature of the mechanism? Cloud amount DISTRIBUTION would be an obvious variable to explain this in a non-global way. Does the data they have reveal or deny this?

    CAGW may be flawed in the basics, but it will be destroyed in the details. If the world does not stay warm with an El Nino because natural processes remove the sudden excess energy, then one wonders why slow increases (actually, CO2 is rapid by the narrative) should be specially empowered to raise the planet’s temperature as proposed.

    Just another “huh”, moment.

  11. One thing I am puzzled by is how different the sea temperatures are between the CFS.v1 and CFS.v2 maps. You can see them by going to the site: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf
    and comparing the maps on page 29 with the maps on page 30.

    The maps on page 30 make the seas look so much redder I figured they must have changed the scale, but the key shows the scale is the same. Is the CFS.v2 model really showing a future so much warmer? (The old CFS model is being discontinued in June.) (It never was very correct, even a month into the future. Last year at this time the CFS was predicting a big El Nino, which never happened, and then six months ago it was predicting the La Nina would plunge to record levels, which hexed the ENSO to promptly rise.) (Not that Version 2 seems that much better.)

    What do they do with discontinued models? Can I pick one up at a yard sale?

  12. Up, down, up, down. I’m more interested in arctic ice these days as it reaches a maximum. The IJIS satellite is still down but JAXA claims it’s reaching way higher than 2011 and similar to 2010. Anyone have better info or analysis?

  13. Allencic – I am also a geologist – and I believe there is some AGW, probably more to do with the effects of agriculture than CO2, while CAGW is clearly – to quote your expression – crap.

    Only a few geologists, apart from those in government, ‘believe’ otherwise. I know of no working geologists who believe in CAGW. This is yet another inconvenient fact always ignored by the alarmist industry – most of those who really understand Earth’s climate history dismiss the theory of CAGW as being self-evident drivel.

    I sympathise with you about your greenie students, eventually they will mature and mostly grow out of their beliefs, assuming they achieve any sort of real career in life. When I was at university in the late 1960s, geology students were generally considered ‘reactionary’, but even we had a few watermelons.

  14. Bob,

    On another WUWT thread I noticed one of the comments said the Argo temperature data had been “adjusted” because it was showing too much cooling. I think the ocean in question was the Atlantic.

    Can you verify or refute that comment? Given all the other shenanigans with temperature I can not dismiss this out of hand.

  15. Further to some of the comments above, assuming a 0.17 K increase in sea surface temperatures in the 29 days of February, this suggests an average continuous energy input of about 0.28 W/m^2 over the entire surface area of the oceans (a depth of 1 m was assumed to simplify the calc.) twenty four hours per day. This seems unlikely to me. What is the margin of error on this type of measurement?

  16. Bob – according to your description of the thermal exchanges in the ENSO, the ocean loses heat during el Nino and recharges it during La Nina. Except that this latest double-dip La Nina failed to recharge heat as usual – instead OHC slightly declined. If we now head toward el Nino territory, will loss of OHC accelerate?

  17. Sorry about the delay in replying to comments.

    Phlogiston: There was a minor recharge of tropical Pacific OHC during the 2011/12 portion of the recent double-dip La Nina.

    An El Nino, if one emerges in 2012, should reduce tropical Pacific OHC even more. It’ll be interesting to watch.

    Jeff Norman says: “Further to some of the comments above, assuming a 0.17 K increase in sea surface temperatures in the 29 days of February, this suggests an average continuous energy input of about 0.28 W/m^2 over the entire surface area of the oceans (a depth of 1 m was assumed to simplify the calc.) twenty four hours per day…”

    Jeff, you’re assuming sea surface temperatures can only rise if energy is input to the ocean. There are other factors that can be responsible. For example, a decrease in trade wind strength causes warming due to reductions in evaporation and upwelling.

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