Tisdale’s September 2012 Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Update

PRELIMINARY

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

Current global SST anomaly

STANDARD OPENING PARAGRAPH

The September 2012 Reynolds OI.v2 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data through the NOAA NOMADS website won’t be official until Monday, September 8th. Refer to the schedule on the NOAA Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface Temperature Analysis Frequently Asked Questions webpage. The following are the preliminary Global and NINO3.4 SST anomalies for September 2012 that the NOMADS website prepares based on incomplete data for the month. I’ve also included the weekly data through the week centered on September 26, 2012, but I’ve shortened the span of the weekly data, starting it in January 2004, so that the variations can be seen.

WEEKLY DATA

The sea surface temperatures of an area in the eastern equatorial Pacific (5S-5N, 170W-120W), known as the NINO3.4 region, are a commonly used reference for the strength, frequency and duration of El Niño and La Niña events. Weekly NINO3.4 region sea surface temperature anomalies for the week centered on September 26, 2012 are well below the 0.5 deg C threshold of an “official” El Niño. They’re at +0.27 deg C.

Weekly NINO3.4 SST Anomalies

Weekly Global sea surface temperature anomalies have been cooling for the past 5 weeks. They are presently at +0.27 deg C. Nope. That’s not a typo. Global and NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies are about the same, based on NOAA’s climatology, which uses the base years of 1971-2000.

 

Weekly Global SST Anomalies

PRELIMINARY MONTHLY DATA

Based on the preliminary data, September 2012 NINO3.4 SST anomalies are at +0.59 deg C still above the +0.5 deg C threshold of “official” El Niño conditions. They’ve cooled (about -0.26 deg C) based on the preliminary data. Refer also to the weekly data, which continues to show cooling in the NINO3.4 region.

Monthly NINO3.4 SST Anomalies

The preliminary global SST anomalies were basically flat, having warmed only 0.002 deg C. They’re presently at +0.273 deg C.

Monthly Global SST Anomalies

NINO3.4 COMPARISONS

The weekly NINO3.4 SST anomalies for 2012 are compared to those of the El Niño events since 1982 that started from La Niña conditions. The early cooling this year appears odd, but looking at the monthly data above, there have been early demises in the past.

NINO3.4 Evolution Comparison – Starting From La Niña Conditions

Looking at the evolution of all El Niño events since November 1981, the happenings in 2012 are beginning to look out of place. Will this year’s event turn into a non-Niño, aka La Nada?

NINO3.4 Evolution Comparison – All

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE EL NIÑO AND LA NIÑA?

Why should you be interested? Satellite-era sea surface temperature records indicate El Niño and La Niña events are responsible for the warming of global sea surface temperature anomalies over the past 30 years, not manmade greenhouse gases. I have been publishing blog posts for the past 3 ½ years that illustrate that fact.

I’ve recently published my e-book (pdf) about the phenomena called El Niño and La Niña. It’s titled Who Turned on the Heat? with the subtitle The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño Southern Oscillation. It is intended for persons (with or without technical backgrounds) interested in learning about El Niño and La Niña events and in understanding the natural causes of the warming of our global oceans for the past 30 years. Because land surface air temperatures simply exaggerate the natural warming of the global oceans over annual and multidecadal time periods, the vast majority of the warming taking place on land is natural as well. The book is the product of years of research of the satellite-era sea surface temperature data that’s available to the public via the internet. It presents how the data accounts for its warming—and there are no indications the warming was caused by manmade greenhouse gases. None at all.

Who Turned on the Heat? was introduced in the blog post Everything You Every Wanted to Know about El Niño and La Niña… …Well Just about Everything. The Free Preview includes the Table of Contents; the Introduction; the beginning of Section 1, with the cartoon-like illustrations; the discussion About the Cover; and the Closing.

Please buy a copy. (Paypal or Credit/Debit Card). It’s only US$8.00.  To keep it inexpensive, I still have no plans to publish a Kindle edition.

SOURCES

The Sea Surface Temperature anomaly data used in this post is available through the NOAA NOMADS website:

http://nomad1.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh

or:

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

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42 Responses to Tisdale’s September 2012 Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Update

  1. Robin Kool says:

    “The September 2012 Reynolds OI.v2 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data through the NOAA NOMADS website won’t be official until Monday, September 8th.”

    Hi Bob.You must mean “OCTOBER 8TH”

    Interesting post as usual. Thanks.

  2. Steve Keohane says:

    Thanks Bob for your update. In the first line, “website won’t be official until Monday, September 8th., I assume you meant October 8th.

  3. Samurai says:

    “La Nada”.. Cute, I got a good laugh on that one.

    I’m particularly interested in what’s happening to the Bering Sea SSTs as it seems they are cooling substantially, which could lead to another record ice extent in the region this winter.

    It’d be nice if at this time next year, we can hear the deafening silence of the Warmunistas as the Arctic ice extent clocks in at +2.5 million KM^2 over 2012 and Antarctica ice extent hits another record…

    If we enter into another La Nina next year, I worry that US farmers in the Southern States will face another year of below average rain, which would put further strain on already skyrocketing food prices.

    On a “positive” note, another La Nina event will lower global temps, putting further pressure on Warmunistas to explain why their inane models are so far off, given no statistically significant GW since 1998…

  4. Looks like it’s cooling down. WUWT?

  5. Owen in Ga says:

    Bob, nice as always. But the king of typos is about to point one out…I believe you meant the monthly final data would be out Monday 8 October, vice 8 September. (I think we all knew what you meant ;) )

    The oceans are looking rather quiet, nothing extraordinary going on out there from the looks of this.

  6. Camburn says:

    Thank you Mr. Tisdale. Your updates are much appreciated.

  7. kenskingdom says:

    Interesting! 1991-92 and 1994-95 appear to be the only ones that look reasonably similar that went on to full El Nino. Do you have any records/ graphs of previous “La Nadas” ?
    Ken

  8. HenryP says:

    Imagine. It is getting cooler? Isn’t that what I have been saying, looking at my graphs for max. temps?
    /
    it is going to get cooler still. Until around 2039, I think.
    Thanks Bob!

  9. Steve J says:

    I find it interesting that, of the El Niños to follow a La Niña since 1982, this is the first one to drop below the official El Niño threshold after achieving El Niño status. This is probably arbitrary and meaningless, but I find it interesting nonetheless.

    Perhaps this El Niño will rebound like 2009/10, in which case, lookout US East Coast this Winter. But if it does not rebound to El Niño status, it will be interesting to see how this Winter plays out in the US. A lot of the early Winter outlooks are based on the premise of an El Niño in the Pacific. If it doesn’t come to pass, they might end up looking foolish. (Not that it’s hard to look foolish making a seasonal forecast.)

  10. cc squid says:

    Mr. Tisdale, I respectfully request that you produce a Kindle version of this paper. I purchase Kindle books as well as check e-books out of the library. I cannot remember the last time that purchased hardcopy materials although I do check them out at the Library.
    Best Regards!

  11. geran says:

    Just “eye-balling” the last two graphs, I would expect this year to end in a weak El Nino. These two graphs tend to consistently rise from week 40 on, as this period reflects the transition over the Equator (Southward Equinox). But, then the Sun, last I checked, is still in reduced output mode….

    (Liked the “la nada” also.)

  12. daveR says:

    I’m reminded of the question, just how big a part might Pacific SST play in influencing the NA regime. As far as I’ve looked, across the record, there’s been both NA warming and cooling. It figures. Thanks to Ant and Bob’s elucidation of this.

  13. The NOAA graphic shows very warm anomalies in the Arctic and very cold anomalies around Antarctica. I suspect the Arctic SSTs and perhaps both are largely artifacts of how they adjust for decreased/increased sea ice. Since they can’t actually measure SSTs under ice.

    If the cooling around Antarctica is real then further increases in sea ice look likely.

  14. Baa Humbug says:

    This ENSO episode is hard to pick because the ocean atmosphere coupling is unusual. SSTs have indicated El Nino conditions for a few months now, but the SOI isn’t playing ball.
    This is because of the unusually cooler than normal waters around Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the Northern coast of Australia causing higher than usual air pressure for this time of year.
    This pressure is creating WESTERLIES in the Western Pacific instead of the expected Easterly trade winds.

    Once the waters in the Western Pacific warm up (probably by the end of the year) the SOI will rise, cool waters of the Eastern Pacific will start migrating west, the Nino 3.4 will drop to about -1 by the middle of January, and we’ll have a mild to moderate La Nina until after Easter 2013.
    I give El Nino no chance at least until the middle of July 2013.

    Personal opinion only.

  15. Bob Tisdale says:

    Robin Kool, Steve Keohane and Owen in Ga, thanks. You are, of course, correct. It should have been October 8th. I’ve fixed the cross post at my blog.

    It must’ve been wishful thinking on my part. I’m not looking forward to winter.

  16. Bob Tisdale says:

    Philip Bradley says: “The NOAA graphic shows very warm anomalies in the Arctic and very cold anomalies around Antarctica. I suspect the Arctic SSTs and perhaps both are largely artifacts of how they adjust for decreased/increased sea ice. Since they can’t actually measure SSTs under ice.”

    The NESDIS (Coral reef watch website) uses only nighttime SST data. http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/methodology/methodology.html#sst

    They note:
    “Nighttime-only satellite SST observations are used to eliminate diel variation caused by solar heating at the sea surface (primarily at the “skin” interface, 10-20 um) during the day and to avoid contamination from solar glare. Compared with daytime SST and day-night blended SST, nighttime SST provides more conservative and stable estimate of thermal stress conducive to coral bleaching.”

    And that’s not the dataset presented in the graphs. The Reynolds OI.v2 SST data uses both nighttime and daytime SST measurements and as they explain, “The AVHRR instrument has three infrared (IR) channels. Due to noise from reflected sunlight (sun glint), only two channels can be used during the day. However, at night the three IR channels are used because the residual noise is lower.” The OI.v2 data accounts for the glair problem and samples SST anomalies over the full course of the day.

    The differences in the datasets were discussed here:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/a-note-about-sst-anomaly-maps/

  17. Olavi says:

    If we look trend from 2005, we can see that globally oceans are cooling. No! Sun wont affect temperatures on earth – so it has to be CO2. LOL

  18. beesaman says:

    Maybe it should be called La Ninguna….

  19. Steve Thatcher says:

    Excellent article and I would like to buy a copy of your book BUT it says I can pay by paypal or credit card and when you choose credit card it directs you to create a paypal account. This is bad enough, but just because I happen to be in France doesn’t mean I want to wade through all the details in French. I’ve been caught out before going through the entire rigmarole of setting up an account for whatever (saying I was in England – to get the instructions in English) only to find that the company would not send me stuff in a country different from the country of my account. Suggestions please.

  20. Bob Tisdale says:

    cc squid says: “Mr. Tisdale, I respectfully request that you produce a Kindle version of this paper. I purchase Kindle books as well as check e-books out of the library. I cannot remember the last time that purchased hardcopy materials although I do check them out at the Library.”

    I’m trying to keep the price down. A Kindle edition would double the price due to the file size of the book in Kindle format. That’s caused by the number of color illustrations. The book is also not available in hardcopy. It’s only available in pdf form. If sales increase to the point where I have trouble keeping up with demand, I’ll publish it in Kindle format. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

    Regards

  21. Bob Tisdale says:

    Steve Thatcher says: “Excellent article and I would like to buy a copy of your book BUT it says I can pay by paypal or credit card and when you choose credit card it directs you to create a paypal account.”

    You can skip the part where it asks you to open a PayPal account. I did when I tested to make sure the download worked.

  22. beng says:

    Bob, your very first figure looks decidedly warmer than the following — especially the cooler waters around N Australia/southern E Indies among other areas…

  23. Jon says:

    Two questions here:

    1. What is the cooling effect of the recent seasonal Arctic ice melt on the great ocean conveyor belt … is it cooling the Pacific?

    2. When ice reforms in the Arctic it will have a higher salinity than the multi year ice it is replacing … won’t the cold dense brine being released from this new ice cool the deeper “warm” water that is know to exist in the Arctic?

  24. Geoff Sharp says:

    Do you want fries with that ??

  25. Bob Tisdale says:

    beng says: “Bob, your very first figure looks decidedly warmer than the following — especially the cooler waters around N Australia/southern E Indies among other areas…”

    Anthony will sometimes add an illustration to a cross post, as he has for this one. The NESDIS “Reef Watch” website maps typically present extra warming in some places because they only use nighttime satellite data. I discussed the differences up thread. Here’s what I wrote in reply to Philip Bradley:
    The NESDIS (Coral reef watch website) uses only nighttime SST data. http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/methodology/methodology.html#sst

    They note:
    “Nighttime-only satellite SST observations are used to eliminate diel variation caused by solar heating at the sea surface (primarily at the “skin” interface, 10-20 um) during the day and to avoid contamination from solar glare. Compared with daytime SST and day-night blended SST, nighttime SST provides more conservative and stable estimate of thermal stress conducive to coral bleaching.”

    And that’s not the dataset presented in the graphs. The Reynolds OI.v2 SST data uses both nighttime and daytime SST measurements and as they explain,

    “The AVHRR instrument has three infrared (IR) channels. Due to noise from reflected sunlight (sun glint), only two channels can be used during the day. However, at night the three IR channels are used because the residual noise is lower.” The OI.v2 data accounts for the glair problem and samples SST anomalies over the full course of the day.
    The differences in the datasets were discussed here:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/a-note-about-sst-anomaly-maps/

    Regards

  26. Bob Tisdale says:

    Jon says: “What is the cooling effect of the recent seasonal Arctic ice melt on the great ocean conveyor belt … is it cooling the Pacific?”

    The great ocean conveyor belt is thought to “cycle waters” over a time period that’s somewhere in the range of 1000 to 1500 years, if memory serves. So any waters subducted in the North Atlantic recently aren’t going to be upwelled in the Pacific for a while.

    Looking at data: the North Pacific has been cooling since 2004/05, before the big Arctic melts of 2007 and 2012:

    The South Pacific looks like it’s been cooling since around 2001:

    Those graphs are from the August update:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/august-2012-sea-surface-temperature-sst-anomaly-update/

    You wrote, “When ice reforms in the Arctic it will have a higher salinity than the multi year ice it is replacing …”

    Do you a have a reference for that?

  27. Dr. Lurtz says:

    We have nearly reached the Sun cycle peak. The next ten years will be of lower Sun output. I predict no El Niño for the near future ( or extremely mild). We will get to watch the Sun affecting weather!

  28. Jon says:

    Bob … I don’t have reference for it … but its logical that the ice melt water will mix somewhat with higher salinity water below it … especially with wind mixing. There must be salinity data for open surface waters kicking around!

  29. Jon says:

    There’s a good reference here which describes brine concentration and movement sea ice: http://seaice.alaska.edu/gi/publications/eicken/09PE.pdf

  30. Lars P. says:

    Can an El Nino develop with this little warmth down there?

    Would it not need more warmth to form a real El Nino? To me it looks like the reason why this El Nino is such a failed El Nino…
    Did it look similar in previous episodes?

  31. Ian Cooper says:

    Bob,

    could this lead to an ‘El Nino Modoki’ scenario at the end of this year/beginning of the next, similar to 2002-03 and 1977-78? The current NINO 3.4 numbers would have to stay around this level to fit the ‘Modoki’ criteria, would they not? I only ask because the two greatest droughts of the past 40 years in my part of New Zealand happened under El Nino Modoki conditions in ’78 & ’03.

    Cheers,

    Coops

  32. Bob Tisdale says:

    Ian Cooper says: “could this lead to an ‘El Nino Modoki’ scenario at the end of this year/beginning of the next, similar to 2002-03 and 1977-78? The current NINO 3.4 numbers would have to stay around this level to fit the ‘Modoki’ criteria, would they not?”

    Most El Nino events are El Nino Modoki. There are few East Pacific El Nino events. This one started off looking like it might be an East Pacific El Nino, but the sea surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific dropped quickly while the waters warmed toward the central portion. Over the past 5 weeks or so, NINO3.4 sea surface temperatures have dropped also. To answer your second question, if these conditions remained for the rest of the year, it would not be considered an El Nino, so east versus central (Modoki) wouldn’t even enter the picture.

    Regards.

  33. Bob Tisdale says:

    Lars P. says: “Did it look similar in previous episodes?”

    This is the first time (that I can recall) during the evolution of an El Nino, where El Nino conditions were reached, and where subsurface temperatures then started to show negative anomalies. It’s not looking like the typical evolution of a medium strength El Nino.

  34. Bob Tisdale says:

    Jon: Thanks for the link.

  35. Bob, I’m not sure what point you were trying to make.

    My point was, the NOAA graphic above shows strong warming for areas of the Arctic Ocean, which were ice covered for at least part of the climatology period from which the anomaly is determined (see link below). As they cannot measure SSTs under ice, they must use some other method to calculate the anomaly (which I termed an adjustment).

    Showing strong warming for these areas is questionable to say the least, because they don’t know what the SST was for much of the past.

  36. phlogiston says:

    Lars P. says:
    October 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm
    Can an El Nino develop with this little warmth down there?
    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/sub_surf_mon.gif

    No. IMHO.

  37. Bob Tisdale says:

    Philip Bradley says: “Bob, I’m not sure what point you were trying to make.”

    Apparently, I was unclear about the point you were trying to make.

    Philip Bradley says: “My point was, the NOAA graphic above shows strong warming for areas of the Arctic Ocean, which were ice covered for at least part of the climatology period from which the anomaly is determined (see link below). As they cannot measure SSTs under ice, they must use some other method to calculate the anomaly (which I termed an adjustment).”

    They use the freezing point of sea water, -1.8 deg C, as the climatology,

    Regards

  38. Jon says:

    Bob … there’s a good video here which shows the effect of cold brine on surrounding water etc: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4cX2EPt2zE

  39. Lars P. says:

    Bob Tisdale says:
    October 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm
    This is the first time (that I can recall) during the evolution of an El Nino, where El Nino conditions were reached, and where subsurface temperatures then started to show negative anomalies. It’s not looking like the typical evolution of a medium strength El Nino.
    phlogiston says:
    October 3, 2012 at 1:24 am
    No. IMHO.
    —————–
    Thank you for your answers. Am curious to see how this evolves.
    I think a couple of month ago, I have not seen a model to forecast this downturn, and even now all of them are forecasting an El Nino. Hey, climate is interesting, I sympathise with Caleb.

  40. Jon Ander says:

    Is it usual the change that can be seen in the sst charts of Noaa? In a small area of the west side of South America there has been a rapid cooling in the last 3 days. I know that big variations in SST are usual, but that area is related to ENSO and that’s why it caught my eye

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