Sea Surface Temperatures since 1996 – the movie

Animations of Weekly SST Anomaly Maps from January 3, 1996 to July 1, 2009

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

The following four animations of Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies were created using the mapping feature (Full Version) of the NOAA NOMADS system for the weekly OI.v2 SST data:

http://nomad3.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh?ctlfile=oiv2.ctl&varlist=on&new_window=on&ptype=map&dir=

The “Contour interval for var1” was set at 0.2 deg C to bring out the lower-intensity temperature anomalies. “white” was set at “0” so that blues represented negative anomalies and reds represented positive anomalies. All four videos last for approximately 2 1/2 minutes.

Please click on the videos to watch them in a larger size at YouTube. There they can be expanded to full screen and set to high definition.

ATLANTIC OCEAN

The North Atlantic has the highest SST anomaly linear trend of all of the ocean subsets. Refer to my post Putting The Short-Term Trend Of North Atlantic SST Anomalies Into Perspective. And of the three major ocean subsets, the Atlantic Ocean has the highest OHC linear trend. This is illustrated in my post Levitus et al (2009) Ocean Heat Content – Comparison of The Ocean Basin Data. Does the Atlantic SST Anomaly Animation help show the reasons?

In addition to the surges of heat in the North and South Atlantic during El Nino events, there are a number of paths that warm SST anomalies enter the South Atlantic during ENSO neutral and La Nina periods. Occasionally, the Benguela Current carries these warm water anomalies north along the Southwest Coast of Africa, where they are then carried west by the Atlantic Equatorial Currents. The warm anomalies either return to the South Atlantic, following the currents of the South Atlantic gyre, or they enter the North Atlantic. Once in the North Atlantic, they travel north, and appear to do that quickly. These additions of elevated SST anomalies during La Nina and ENSO-neutral periods also help explain why There Are Also El Nino-Induced Step Changes In The North Atlantic.

Atlantic Ocean SST Anomaly Animation 1996 to 2009

INDIAN OCEAN

The Indian Ocean animation shows very “noisy” SST anomalies, without any obvious reoccurring pattern. I was hoping to illustrate evidence of the Indian Ocean Dipole. In a future post, I’ll try to do so.

Indian Ocean SST Anomaly Animation 1996 to 2009

PACIFIC OCEAN

ENSO events stand out in the Pacific Ocean SST anomaly animation. It is possible to differentiate between traditional El Nino events like the 1997/98 El Nino (initially forms in the eastern equatorial Pacific) and the El Nino Modoki events of 2002/03 and 2004/05 (initially form in the central equatorial Pacific). Occasionally, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) pattern in the North Pacific (north of 20N) makes its presence known, as does the basin-wide pattern of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO).

In a future post, I’ll discuss a sequence of events that appears to occur during traditional El Nino events. Note how, before the formation of the 1997/98 El Nino, the Humboldt Current carries warm Southern Hemisphere SST anomalies up along the west coast of South America to the eastern equatorial Pacific. Yet RSS MSU TLT Time-Latitude Plots (refer to RSS MSU TLT Time-Latitude Plots…) clearly show that the majority of the heat from the 1997/98 El Nino was transported to the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Does this mean that El Nino events transport heat from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern Hemisphere?

Pacific Ocean SST Anomaly Animation 1996 to 2009

GLOBAL

In addition to the processes that appear in the videos of the three major oceans and the interactions between them, the Global SST anomaly animation also shows the seasonal shifts in the SST anomalies within the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. There also appears to be a shift between them, where the higher SST anomalies appear during the summer months for each hemisphere.

Note also that the Indian Ocean anomalies no longer seem so noisy.

Global SST Anomaly Animation 1996 to 2009

48 thoughts on “Sea Surface Temperatures since 1996 – the movie

  1. I suppose it would be close to impossible, but animating the synoptic charts in sync with this data would be an interesting analysis. Reason for this hare-brained idea is that atmospheric lows seem to be powerful forces, often developing into hurricanes/cyclones, while Highs, just well, remain highs.
    In terms of the Plasma model the idea is that the lows are driven by electric currents in dark plasma mode, and as the oceans are, compared to the land, electrically more conductive, all sorts of possibilities might emerge which might shed light on what might be driving these oscillations etc.
    Longer term drivers would be in the mantle powering surge tectonics as postulated by Leybourne etc, and those mantle surges would have to be linked, somehow, to the sun via the plasma model.
    Just a few ideas to bounce around 🙂 After all if it isn’t CO2, what the heck else could it be.

  2. Very nice work Bob.
    You must have invested quite some quality time to produce these animations.
    They are great.
    Thanks for a job well done.

  3. I agree with Ron, this was very well done. Thanks Bob.
    What happened in 2004, there was so much red, I thought I was passing out.

  4. Very mesmerizing but hard to internalize. I have to focus on one small part – say the eastern Pacific off B.C. and Washington State – and glance at the dates rolling by above. Then pick another location and watch again.
    As a linkage to current news the monsoon, though a bit late, seems to be underway in India. Someone with a specific-locational interest that could overlay with Highs & Lows, Jet Streams and local weather could use these animations and tell a good story.
    I now have to get on with some other things, really, but thanks for the post.

  5. Thanks for the hard work which went into these excellent animations.
    The global animation was the most impressive to me, as it seems to show that SST anomaly often has an opposite trend in the NH to whats happening in the south.
    I thought it was also a good illustration of just how chaotic the system is, with tantalisingly similar patterns occurring over time, but never in exactly the same place or to the same degree. Try modelling that into a GCM – no chance!

  6. What strikes me is that many parts of the North Atlantic SST are always red. How can you have a temperature continually above average? What is the time period they used as the zero baseline? Since satellite data has only been available since 1979, can any trust be put in these anomalies, as the elapsed period to generate a basin-wide average is just a drop in the ocean.

  7. Why is it that much of the North Atlantic SST is way above it’s average in this movie?? What time period did NOAA use to create the zero baseline??

  8. Having seen a number of discussions about the regularly (and naturally) disintegrating Wilkin ice shelf (amongst others in the Antarctic penninsula) I noticed an awful lot of red washing around said penninsula, especially recently. How much would this affect the temperature anomalies being recorded there?

  9. I was wondering the same thing Ray Boorman. The anomaly is compared to what period. I noticed that the area between Greenland and England was almost always above average. Is this Lake Wobegone where all the children are above average? or in this case, all the anomalies.

  10. Pretty cool stuff. I haven´t recognized any CO2 fingerprint though 😉
    I just noticed that very hot summer 2003 in central Europe went alongside with strongly positive Atlantic SST (AMO). The last powerful La Nina occured several months before the deepest temperature drop, which downpeaked in May 2008 so there is obvious lag. Weak La Nina conditions from early 2009 has been just reflected in recent UAH/RSS temperature drop to 79-00 average.
    Oceans obviously rule the climate.

  11. Fascinating, it is, but heat content it isnt.
    The heat content is different according to the real temperature, so I do not see how any conclusions can be made about heat transport.
    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst.html
    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.html
    In the southern ocean when it is 6 C and the anomaly is 1C can one seriously think that the same energy/heat is involved as in the tropics where the temperature is 30 C for the same anomaly?
    This whole concept of anomaly is anomalous. It only has meaning for people sitting in a specific place and reminiscing of how hot/cold it used to be. Not about heat transport.

  12. An excellent presentation backed by a lot of work.
    It provides support for my contention that there are variations in the rate of energy emission to the air in all the oceans all the time and that we need to assess the net trend in energy flow from ocean to air at any given point to diagnose a warming trend or a cooling trend in the air. Sometimes the oceans offset one another and at other times they are in phase with each other.
    I have suggested a shortcut in proposing that because the ocean SSTs set the rate of energy flow through the air they will also dictate the relative sizes and positions of all the air circulation systems so examination of those will diagnose a current temperature trend in the air.
    Those poleward shifts of the air circulation systems show warming of the air globally. Equatorward shifts (as now) show cooling of the air globally.
    The progress of heat energy from ocean to ocean is also illuminating since we clearly have a main driver in the Pacific though it is modulated at varying rates by the other oceans over time.
    The net flow through the oceans from equator to poles is clearly indicated together with the transfer of energy from southern hemisphere to northern hemisphere which obviously moves more energy across the equator than is permitted by the circulation systems in the air.
    That last point is highly relevant to Arctic ice varability. There is clearly a large movement of energy from initially the Pacific through the south Atlantic and then into the north Atlantic with a funnelling effect into the Arctic Circle where warmer water under the ice has profound effects. If that flow of energy slackens due to a negative PDO commencing some years earlier then the Arctic ice will recover some 8 to 10 years later which is exactly what we are now seeing.

  13. Ray Boorman: You wrote, “What strikes me is that many parts of the North Atlantic SST are always red. How can you have a temperature continually above average? What is the time period they used as the zero baseline? Since satellite data has only been available since 1979, can any trust be put in these anomalies, as the elapsed period to generate a basin-wide average is just a drop in the ocean,” and, “Why is it that much of the North Atlantic SST is way above it’s average in this movie?? What time period did NOAA use to create the zero baseline??”
    The high North Atlantic SST anomalies are a function of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), which is near to or at its peak during this period. The SST anomaly linear trend from November 1981 to January 2009 in the North Atlantic is ~0.264 deg C/decade while the global SST anomaly linear trend is ~0.0948 deg C/decade. Refer to my post “Putting the Short-Term Trend of North Atlantic SST Anomalies into Perspective”.
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/06/putting-short-term-trend-of-north.html
    To answer your base period question, NOAA uses an SST climatology that was created with this dataset and others to calculate SST anomalies. The base period listed is 1971 to 2000.
    And another reason why the North Atlantic is always red is based on the contour interval (0.2 deg C) I used to bring out the smaller anomalies in the other oceans. The following is global SST anomaly map with the contour interval set at 0.5 deg C.
    http://i26.tinypic.com/23tl3xg.jpg
    If I had used a larger contour interval like that for the videos, the temperature scale would have been greater. Many of the “red areas” would have been replaced with yellows and oranges, but all of the smaller anomalies, the ones I wanted to bring out, would have been lost in the white areas.

  14. Nice presentation
    I hope that schools pick up on it, it shows how dynamic the planet is but also shows the stochastic nature of the variability. A great educational tool.

  15. >>>The heat content is different according to the real
    >>>temperature, so I do not see how any conclusions
    >>>can be made about heat transport.
    Yes, it would be nice to have an actual temperature animation, to compare with the anomaly presentation.
    (Not that I don’t appreciate the huge effort that has gone into producing this)
    Ralph

  16. I already thanked Bob for his hard work in producing these animations on another thread where he gave a few of us a sneak preview, and I thank him again here. No small amount of time invested.
    I’m still watching these over and again before coming to conclusions. I recently got some insight into the way the oceans absorb heat during high runs of solar cycles and dissipate it again during solar minima and low runs of cycles. After doing some calcs, confirmed as correct by Leif Svalgaard, I’ve found we’ve been sold a dummy by the AGW crowd, who have estimated ocean heat content at a level consistent with their 1.7W/m2 radiative imbalance. The figures don’t add up. The truth is, the imbalance during 1993-2003 was more like 4W/m2. This knowledge has helped me understand how much stronger the ocean is as a driver of the atmosphere than previously thought.
    I take Anna V’s point about heat transport across varying temperature belts, and am of the tentative opinion that the Atlantic runs it’s own parallel to el nino processes. Watch the spike of west-east red between South America and Africa mimic the bigger Pacific events, but at different times.
    I’m sure Bob is right about currents and their destinations, but I think we have a whole lot more to discover about the ocean and it’s mysterious heat transport systems too.
    The Sixteen mm of thermal expansion which took place 1993-2003 was a result of a huge amount of extra heat stored from the run of short, high amplitude, short minimum cycles in the late C20th. It was stored right down to the thermocline according to a comparison I’ve made between the average temp increase of the upper 700m and the SST increase over the period. How does it get there? There are mysteries in salinity, density and temperature to solve.
    Unlike Bob, I haven’t yet studied each ocean basin in detail, but the overall picture is clear to me. Now I need to do for the understanding of subsurface heat storage/release what Bob has done for our understanding of SST’s and the links between them and atmospheric events and circulations.
    Hats off to you Bob!

  17. anna v: You wrote, “Fascinating, it is, but heat content it isnt. The heat content is different according to the real temperature, so I do not see how any conclusions can be made about heat transport…” “…In the southern ocean when it is 6 C and the anomaly is 1C can one seriously think that the same energy/heat is involved as in the tropics where the temperature is 30 C for the same anomaly?”
    I’m not sure where you’re going with this. If we look at an illustration of Thermohaline Circulation…
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Thermohaline_Circulation_2.png
    …surface and subsurface currents transport energy in the form of heat around the globe. When surface currents carry it North in the South Atlantic, the heat is transported from the Southern Ocean to the tropical Atlantic.
    You also wrote, “This whole concept of anomaly is anomalous. It only has meaning for people sitting in a specific place and reminiscing of how hot/cold it used to be. Not about heat transport.”
    As shown in the animations, those SST anomalies travel. Surface water that’s warmer or cooler than “normal” is carried from one location to another, and those anomalies move from high latitudes to the tropics and from the tropics to high latitudes. If not “heat transport”, how else would you choose to describe it?

  18. annav
    This whole concept of anomaly is anomalous. It only has meaning for people sitting in a specific place and reminiscing of how hot/cold it used to be. Not about heat transport.
    That is a great point.

  19. Ralph Ellis: You wrote, “Yes, it would be nice to have an actual temperature animation, to compare with the anomaly presentation.”
    All you would really see is the seasonal shift (north and south) in sea surface temperature. Keep in mind the scales we’re dealing with. Here’s the SST map that anna v linked:
    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst.html
    Its span is 35 deg C. But for the animations, I’ve set the contour level at 0.2 deg C so the span is 2.8 deg C.

  20. UK Sceptic: You wrote, “Having seen a number of discussions about the regularly (and naturally) disintegrating Wilkin ice shelf (amongst others in the Antarctic penninsula) I noticed an awful lot of red washing around said penninsula, especially recently. How much would this affect the temperature anomalies being recorded there?”
    How much of that red is attributable to ENSO events?
    Refer to Schneider and Steig (yup same Steig), PNAS paper is “Ice cores record significant 1940s Antarctic warmth related to tropical climate variability.”
    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/34/12154.abstract
    Abstract:
    “Although the 20th Century warming of global climate is well known, climate change in the high-latitude Southern Hemisphere (SH), especially in the first half of the century, remains poorly documented. We present a composite of water stable isotope data from high-resolution ice cores from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. This record, representative of West Antarctic surface temperature, shows extreme positive anomalies in the 1936–45 decade that are significant in the context of the background 20th Century warming trend. We interpret these anomalies—previously undocumented in the high-latitude SH—as indicative of strong teleconnections in part driven by the major 1939–42 El Niño. These anomalies are coherent with tropical sea-surface temperature, mean SH air temperature, and North Pacific sea-level pressure, underscoring the sensitivity of West Antarctica’s climate, and potentially its ice sheet, to large-scale changes in the global climate.”
    It seems to me that it would seem logical to conclude that the current bout of warming in the Western Antarctic could be attributable to the recent almost three-decade-long bout of ENSO activity that has been dominated by El Nino events.
    That’s part of this post:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/01/recent-antarctic-warming-attribution.html

  21. I understand the usefulness of animnation, but I would like to see a few graphs of the trend in each of the three oceans.

  22. Juraj V., You asked, “What are the reasons, these two SST anomalies are quite different at some places?”
    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/PSB/EPS/SST/data/anomnight.7.13.2009.gif
    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.html
    For the most part they look similar, but there are some minor variations. They do have different scales so that would alter the visual impacts.
    I emailed Unisys a few months ago and asked the source of their SST anomaly data, but I received no reply.

  23. Nice job! I too would like to see a movie of the original temperature data.
    Indeed, why the focus on anomalies, rather than original temperature data, by climatologists, at least in the global “climate change” context? Suppose that at each time point t you calculate the global average anomaly A(t), then use linear regression to estimate the rate of change in A over time. The answer is the same as you would get if you used the original temperature data. The global average temperature at any time differs from A(t) by the global average baseline, which is neither a function of time nor space.

  24. Anna,
    For me the fascinating portion of the animation was the North Atlantic. Like Bob said, the warm anomalies there are a nice illustration of how warmer tropical waters are transported poleward. I do agree that it is not so evident in other areas, and I believe much of the heat transport is mixed within the interplay between the oceans and the atmosphere above it. Willis did present idea of this sort when he presented his paper concerning the ITCZ being a thermostat for global climate. Heat transport during El Nino episodes is carried out as much by the atmosphere is it is by the oceans.
    Another very cool part of the illustration was the 1997-2000 ENSO event. Granted we won’t probably won’t see such a dramatic El Nino/La Nina cycle anytime so soon, the animation certainly highlights how ENSO cycles. This animation is about as a great use of You Tube -an excellent teaching aid.
    Very nice work Bob.

  25. tallbloke (04:22:29)
    Just a suggestion but I think it would be helpful if you do as I now do which is to refer to the air rather than the atmosphere and then look at the oceans as the overwhelming driver of the air both in terms of temperature and the size and position of the air circulation systems.
    The reason I say that is that in an article some time ago I found it helpful to refer to both oceans and air combined as the Earth’s ‘atmosphere’ for the specific purpose of slowing down the transmission of solar energy through the Earth system and converting it from shortwave to longwave thereby generating heat energy and setting the overall global equilibrium temperature.
    After all, the oceans and the water vapour in the air are both the same substance in different forms and of course the oceans being so large and so dense their proportion of the process of slowing down solar energy transmission vastly overwhelms the contribution of the air (or any variation in the composition of the air) in setting that global equilibrium temperature.
    Tyndall et al treated with the air in isolation and so far as that goes their findings are correct. The trouble is that when one considers the climate system as a whole it turns out that changes in the composition of the air do not after all have significant climate implications because of the overwhelming power of the oceans in setting the global equilibrium temperature in the first place and the power of the hydrological cycle in always moving the average global air temperature back towards an ever varying average global sea surface temperature
    Every piece of data that I see fits with the ocean surfaces constantly varying the rate of emission of previously stored solar energy to the air and the climate system in the air constantly shifting in response to the oceanic changes in order to both ensure sea surface/surface air equilibrium and at the same time prevent a significant divergence between solar shortwave entering the oceans and longwave leaving the air to space.
    The mechanism is the latitudinal positioning of all the air circulation systems combined. That controls the speed of the hydrological cycle and thus the rate of energy transfer from surface to space. As soon as more GHGs try to warm the air they cannot do so because of the control of air temperatures exercised by sea surface temperatures so instead the hydrological cycle speeds up and the excess energy is ejected to space.
    I see that as the overarching scenario which accommodates all the new ideas expressed here and elsewhere by knowledgeable sceptics.

  26. Bob, you say: “As shown in the animations, those SST anomalies travel. Surface water that’s warmer or cooler than “normal” is carried from one location to another, and those anomalies move from high latitudes to the tropics and from the tropics to high latitudes. If not “heat transport”, how else would you choose to describe it?”
    I’m not sure this description is precisely right. Because you’re dealing with anomalies and the fact that heat is not trapped in a water mass but can radiate into space, there’s an appearance of heat transport that may be greater than it actually is. Notice in the North Atlantic sequence the Gulf Stream doesn’t flow with waves of heat transport from SW to NE, but instead the whole basin seems to throb like a heartbeat. Obviously, there is transport, but I think our brains may be supplying an explanation to the patterns we see in these sequences that’s not completely the case.
    Nice work, though. I wonder if a weekly time interval might be more revealing.

  27. Bob Tisdale (04:33:57) :
    If not “heat transport”, how else would you choose to describe it?
    A function of heat transport? A spatial convolution of heat transport? Like seeing through a distorting lens by T**4 ( hand waving, it sure is not black body).
    It is not even a simple projection.
    It is logically disorienting to see red in Greenland when the real water temperature is -2C. There is a bit of extra heat but it does not tell us how much, with respet to the tropics, because the correspondence is not linear.
    Possibly one could calculate a heat anomaly out of this, if one could approximate the temperature to heat function. That would have straight forward meaning because it would reflect the energy transports involved.

  28. Gary: You wrote, “I’m not sure this description is precisely right. Because you’re dealing with anomalies and the fact that heat is not trapped in a water mass but can radiate into space, there’s an appearance of heat transport that may be greater than it actually is. Notice in the North Atlantic sequence the Gulf Stream doesn’t flow with waves of heat transport from SW to NE, but instead the whole basin seems to throb like a heartbeat. Obviously, there is transport, but I think our brains may be supplying an explanation to the patterns we see in these sequences that’s not completely the case.”
    With the “sensitivity” of the contour levels I used, there’s no doubt in my mind that we’re seeing a number of coupled ocean-atmosphere processes taking place in addition to ocean currents, etc. That was my hope with those settings. Unfortunately, this eliminated the upper end anomalies, like those in the North Atlantic and the peaks of the ENSO event anomalies in the equatorial Pacific. In fact, in the post when I mentioned heat transport or warm anomalies being carried by currents, I was very specific in the locations: the Humboldt and Benguela Currents. I did mention the North Atlantic, but very briefly. Apparently I led people to watch the North Atlantic when the preliminary action, what I was trying to note, took place in the South Atlantic (and in the South Pacific in the other example).
    And yes, one’s want to see a process may lead one to believe that’s what they’re seeing.

  29. Thank you Bob Tisdale, both for the fantastic animations and for the thorough response to my question. One of the reasons I find this site so compelling is that someone like me (an archaeologist), who doesn’t know much about hard core climatology (but I’m learning fast), can ask a simple if naive question and get a useful, informative answer.
    😀

  30. Lindsay H: You wrote, “I hope that schools pick up on it, it shows how dynamic the planet is but also shows the stochastic nature of the variability. ”
    Thanks. Hopefully they will. One high school science teacher had my video “The Lingering Effects of the 1997/98 El Nino” in his schedule last school year.

    Also note how the lingering effects in the East Indian and West Pacific Oceans that were discussed in that video show up quite clearly in their respective videos above. The heat that’s redistributed by an El Nino can hang around for a number of years in the atmosphere and in the oceans.

  31. anna v: In my first response to you, I discussed thermohaline circulation, but you disagreed with my use of heat transport there. But inputting “thermohaline circulation” and “heat transport” into Google Scholar, it comes back with 3,550 hits. The first has the title “An Overlooked Problem in Model Simulations of the Thermohaline Circulation and Heat Transport in the Atlantic Ocean.” Scrolling down the page to the eighth hit provides this quote, “the thermohaline circulation of the ocean (‘THC’) organises the global heat transport (Gordon, 1986).” So my use of heat transport in my earlier comment appears to be commonplace.
    Let’s look at how I used heat transport in this post. My first use of the word transport was in the discussion of the Pacific and the effects of El Ninos. I wrote, “Yet RSS MSU TLT Time-Latitude Plots (refer to RSS MSU TLT Time-Latitude Plots…) clearly show that the majority of the heat from the 1997/98 El Nino was transported to the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.” In case that link doesn’t make it through with the cut and paste, here it is again:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/06/rss-msu-tlt-time-latitude-plots.html
    So my first use of the term had nothing to do with SST or SST anomalies, which were the bulk of your first comment.
    Now let’s look at the common usage of “heat transport” with respect to El Nino events. David Enfield of NOAA in his El Nino FAQ webpage…
    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/general/enso_faq/
    …writes, “What happens during an El Niño ‘avalanche’ is that a lot of excess heat gets transported poleward, most frequently through winter storms.”
    And that heat would be reflected in an increase in TLT anomalies in mid-to-high latitudes. Again, my use of the term is not outside common practice.
    My second use of the word was in the following sentence, “Does this mean that El Nino events transport heat from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern Hemisphere?”
    I fail to see where your discussions of the Southern Ocean and Greenland come into play with that sentence. But maybe transfer would have been more appropriate there.

  32. Bob Tisdale (12:13:08) :
    I do not want to confuse the issue. Yes, there is heat transport, and yes, this will show in the temperature anomalies.
    What I am saying is that unless the anomalies are turned into Joules per m**3, or even watts/m**2 since we are talking of surface, the eye is fooled about magnitudes in these plots. A red color in the tropics is not in heat content the same as a red color in the arctic/antarctic since the relation of temperature to heat is not linear.

  33. Stephen Wilde (06:16:38) :
    As soon as more GHGs try to warm the air they cannot do so because of the control of air temperatures exercised by sea surface temperatures so instead the hydrological cycle speeds up and the excess energy is ejected to space.
    I see that as the overarching scenario which accommodates all the new ideas expressed here and elsewhere by knowledgeable sceptics.

    Stephen, thanks for the clear post and I agree with the closing segment quoted. Your theory implies any longer term change in global temperature must be due to external forcing. I add that this must imply a terrestrial amplification or ‘positive feedback within limits’. I have been pondering what the balance point is where the oceans emit as much as they absorb, and I think this may be somewhere around an average monthly sunspot count of 42. Perhaps Douglas Adams was right all along.
    I am now trying to work out how fast the ocean will dissipate heat at 1and 10 sunspots a month and they rate of oscillation at which it will do it. The currently forming modoki el nino is a kind of proving ground for my ideas. I anticipate a 0.25 – 0.3C uplift in air temp over the next 4 months followed by a slide to an anomaly of -0.3 or a bit lower by next May. This is on the assumption the sun doesn’t burst into high activity, but slowly gains a few more spots/month over the next year. Also assuming a large volcanic eruption doesn’t occur.

  34. tallbloke (12:46:20)
    I’d be tickled pink if it came out at 42.
    However I’m not sure that the sunspot count is necessarily an adequate proxy for the combined effect of all solar influences on the highly variable rate of energy transfer through the Earth systems of ocean and air (land being pretty much irrelevant because it’s energy storage capability is fixed and negligible).
    Agreed that the various ocean oscillations are going to teach us a lot whilst the sun is quiet but for the net effect on the current global temperature trend the net latitudinal position of the air circulation systems is a useful guide if anyone could work it out.
    Anyway between you, me, Bob and Willis we are close to a workable new theory of climate here.
    The external driver is certainly solar but the Earthly effect from the oceans can be either positive or negative at different times. That explains the size of variation from what would otherwise be expected from solar alone.
    If the oceans can amplify by,say, 5 times they can also suppress by 5 times giving a total range of 10 times. That deals quite adequately with the apparent disjunction between the scale of solar variability and the scale of observed climate responses.

  35. I would love for somebody to go back and grab at least the SCAMS data and take this stuff back to the mid 70s. The NEMS data is a bit more iffy. I wonder if the tapes exist anyplace

  36. Shr_Nfr: I do plan to run these maps back as far as the early 1980s or whenever NOMADS stops spitting out maps. I only went back as far as1996 this time because I was interested in watching the responses to the 1997/98 El Nino and all of the aftereffects. I also got tired of downlaoding maps. Next stop will be the 1986/87/88 El Nino.

  37. Bob Tisdale (04:33:57),
    “As shown in the animations, those SST anomalies travel. Surface water that’s warmer or cooler than “normal” is carried from one location to another, and those anomalies move from high latitudes to the tropics and from the tropics to high latitudes. If not “heat transport”, how else would you choose to describe it?”
    Congratulation’s on the good work put into this,I know that it is an ongoing project.
    To clarify the above quote ,would it be helpful to overlay SS current flow?

  38. Stephen Wilde (14:04:24) :
    Agreed that the various ocean oscillations are going to teach us a lot whilst the sun is quiet but for the net effect on the current global temperature trend the net latitudinal position of the air circulation systems is a useful guide if anyone could work it out.
    Anyway between you, me, Bob and Willis we are close to a workable new theory of climate here.
    If the oceans can amplify by,say, 5 times they can also suppress by 5 times giving a total range of 10 times. That deals quite adequately with the apparent disjunction between the scale of solar variability and the scale of observed climate responses.
    The energy differentials between the shifting locations of the boundaries of the Hadley cells must be vast, and I agree with your analysis that they could act as a strong governing mechanism on climate. I also think they may be cyclically affected by the lunar declination cycle, which is linked to the drought cycle. To further complicate the issue, Anthony did a study which found an ~18 year cycle in solar data.
    I feel I’m still very undereducated and though I think I have some valid calculations which change the landscape, I don’t know how much that might help with a new theory of climate. I am hopeful though, and with the solid work done by Bob, and the excellent inductive hypotheses formed by you and Willis, we’ll get there. Meantime I’ll keep lobbing wild speculations into the mix to see what it jogs. :o)
    I believe Nir Shaviv found an order of magnitude forcing in the solar cycle length responses of the ocean. He thinks clouds are the best candidate. If we are going to get clouds to help with our multidecadal problem, we will need to get down and dirty with the ISCCP data. Bob has showed us the way with his excellent analyses of climate critical areas such as Nino 3.4. We need to look at cloud there and in other critical locales and the concomitant XBT and ARGO data to try to work out how much long term cloud cover change affects insolation to important oceanic areas., because global cloud cover indices and even tropical indices don’t vary enough to do the job. Your latitudinal shifts are going to plug into that too.
    I think Bob’s animations should help identify those critical areas.

  39. Buckminster Fuller proposed building a huge ‘buckyball’ covered in monitors which could display the earth and overlays of any data required moving at any timescale desired.
    I could really do with one of those right now. :o)
    Does anyone know of a climate model which will run on a standalone PC?

  40. Bob Tisdale, what great research you provide for us WUWT readers. I hope you and others — Jeff Id for one — can take Anna Vs advice to heart.
    anna v (12:44:04) :
    “What I am saying is that unless the anomalies are turned into Joules per m**3, or even watts/m**2 since we are talking of surface, the eye is fooled about magnitudes in these plots. A red color in the tropics is not in heat content the same as a red color in the arctic/antarctic since the relation of temperature to heat is not linear.”
    Since I am not a scientist, I have trouble articulating many of these issues. However, the colors of the anomaly maps are jarring. They play right into the fiendish minds of AGWers. We see red all over the place when the temp anomaly is a little above 0C. Not right. Not helpful. Can’t a group of researchers get together and develop a different color convention for anomalies. They are not the same thing as SSTs. Please.

  41. I like Willis’s heat-pump idea. Any ‘from Sun’ daily photos showing earlier Cbs during the ’98 El Nino as the ITCZ strips the heat from the ocean and posts it Polewards, would be helpful?
    Is there a trade wind index that might give us an idea of evaporation?
    Presumably for every rate of insolation of surface water there is a wind that evaporatively cools it . So no matter how hot the Sun is at the water surface there can be a wind that strips the heat (as vapour) before it warms the tropical seas.
    No model I’ve heard of suggests that heat in the tropics doesn’t necessarily reach the ocean.

  42. Sandy, the surface evap is mostly from the back radiation from the atmosphere. The sunlight penetrates deeply into the ocean and gets converted to heat.

  43. pyromancer76: You wrote, “However, the colors of the anomaly maps are jarring. They play right into the fiendish minds of AGWers. We see red all over the place when the temp anomaly is a little above 0C. Not right. Not helpful. ”
    Relax. Give me a couple of weeks. These are just preliminary videos. Those OI.v2-based SST anomaly maps run back to 1982. As soon as I’ve downloaded a group, I’ll crank out videos that compare the animations to comparison graphs of NINO3.4 SST anomalies and the SST anomalies for the given area: North Atlantic, etc. I’ll start with the Atlantic and show that all the red in the North Atlantic is caused by step changes resulting from the 1986/87/88 and the 1997/98 El Ninos. Then you can upset the fiendish minds of the AGWers.
    In the mean time, there here a couple of posts that use graphs to illustrate what I’m talking about:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/02/there-are-also-el-nino-induced-step.html
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008/12/lingering-effects-of-199798-el-nino.html
    Hopefully, with the videos, those graphs will be more effective.
    Regards

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