Sea Surface Temperatures "warmest on record"…but

There is a lot of wailing an gnashing of teeth today over this Associated Press story title:

In hot water: World’s ocean temps warmest recorded

Please take a moment to read that story above as I can’t post it here.  AP has declared war on bloggers.

First a few caveats:

  1. Yes (as mentioned about the northeast USA beach water temperatures in the AP article) we have some very warm sea surface temperatures this summer, we also had the coolest summer surface temperatures on record in many places in the USA.
  2. The AP story is written by Seth Borenstein. Seth tends to report the warmest side of things in the worst way, so take the story with a grain of salt. For example, Portland Maine also set a new record low for July Temperatures, see here. I don’t think Seth covered that one nor the -50°F all time statewide Maine record low on January 16th, 2009 seen here. One should also note that NOAA reported “July Temperature Below-Average for the U.S.” How quickly we forget. I’m not trying to pick a weather -vs- climate food fight, but simply pointing this out for balance. We’ve had some cold events this year also.
  3. Sea temperature spikes like this have have happened before. More on that later.

In the story Seth says: “The result has meant lots of swimming at beaches in Maine with pleasant 72-degree water.”

To check that out, I utilized the Rutgers SST satellite page here. This image showing coastal Maine from NOAA-15 on August 18th seemed fairly representative and was one of the few that was almost completely filled with SST data. As you can see on this summary page, there is a lot of missing data. With this much missing data, one wonders if SST data averages are accurate.

Courtesy NOAA-15 and Rutgers University

Courtesy NOAA-15 and Rutgers University - click for larger image

I’ve annotated the image to give you landmarks and cities. Our warmer buddy “Tamino” lives in Portland, I wonder if he’s taking a dip. As you can see, indeed there is some 72 degree water around Portland. But up in the Bay of Fundy and tip of Nova Scotia, there’s some pretty cold water also, and it is in the 45 to 55 degree range.

A wider view SST of the northeastern US shows the reason for this juxtaposing of opposite ends of the sensing range:

NE_USA_SST_081809

Northeast USA SST courtesy NOAA and Rutgers University - click for larger image

I’ve also annotated this image to give you landmarks and cities.

Note the prominent tongue of warm water and the eddies and swirls. That is the warm water of the Gulf Stream mixing with the cold water of the north. In the middle mix, pleasant swimming temperatures. The earth is doing what is has always done, transporting warm water northward via the Gulf Stream. Yes it is a little stronger this year and maybe a little closer to the coast than usual.

Here’s a view of the source in the Gulf of Mexico, Oh…wait…I had to use a different source since the NOAA/Rutgers imagery was missing so much data in the Gulf – see for yourself here

This Weather Underground plot of buoy based sea temperature measurements shows that indeed the Gulf is warm and around the 90 degrees indicated in the article.

But the question is: is this warmth an event to be concerned about? From the Rutgers map above, it appears that the Gulf Stream has come closer to shore than it normally does, which of course makes it more noticeable to people recreating in the water.This of course generates attention, and reporters naturally pick up on these things. The question is: weather or climate?

Here’s a NOAA Ocean Explorer SST image from a 2005 article that shows how the Gulf Stream tends to hang off the coast a bit more.

Sea surface temperature map

Sea surface temperature as derived from satellite imagery. The deflection of the Gulf Stream to the east at the Charleston Bump is apparent. Click image for larger view.

And of course, we have an El Nino going on, so a warmer Pacific is certainly not unexpected.

clickable global map of SST anomalies

Note the the temperatures above are anomalies, not absolute measurements.

As the AP article mentions, the last time we saw ocean temperature this high was in 1998 during the super El Nino.

What I find most interesting though is this NOAA Hovmoller graph as pointed out by Paul Vaughn in Bob Tisdale’s thread:

Hovmollering the SST: T-shirt tie-dye design or climate science?

http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/sst/sst.long.time.gif

Just looking at the 1982-1983 and 1997-1998 SST spikes, it does seem like we are due for another at the bottom doesn’t it?

The point I’m making here. Yes the ocean is warm, it has gotten warm before. Should we panic? No.

A couple of closing points. The AP article that I referenced at the beginning of this post makes no references as to sources other than generally mentioning NCDC.

However I did find a more in depth NPR/AP article that did reference the NCDC sources which you can read here.

The two sources listed were:

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/?reportglobal&year2009&month7

http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/dsdt/cwtg/all.html

But there is no mention of this on either source:

“The average water temperature worldwide was 62.6 degrees, according to the National Climatic Data Center”

The latest summary NCDC offers ( which AP referenced: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/?reportglobal&year2009&month7 ) is for July 2009 where they say this:

The global ocean surface temperature for July 2009 was the warmest on record, 0.59°C (1.06°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F). This broke the previous July record set in 1998. The July ocean surface temperature departure from the long-term average equals June 2009 value, which was also a record.

So that makes me wonder, did NCDC give Seth Borenstein some inside information for the middle of August that the rest of us aren’t privy to? Or, could it be a misprint or C to F conversion error?

I simply don’t know, but I do find it odd that I can’t find a NOAA or NCDC press release or data table that has that 62.6 degrees mentioned in it. If anyone knows where that figure came from, please post it in comments. Google is saturated with so many news stories with the keyword combination of NCDC and 62.6 that I’m unable to locate the original source. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but if it does, I’m sure our WUWT readers will find it.

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148 thoughts on “Sea Surface Temperatures "warmest on record"…but

  1. Anthony: Go to the full global version of the SST anomaly report and check out the size of the antarctic ice pack. You can see that here: http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2009/anomnight.8.20.2009.gif.
    The ice pack extends out beyond the Antarctic Circle in the mid-Pacific. The Cryosphere Today will give you a better look here: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/.
    It’s grant-fishing time in Asheville and my guess that Borenstein is being used as a tool by these folks to justify more funding.

  2. SST measure the rate at which the oceans release heat to the atmosphere. Once the heat is in the atmosphere it is lost to space fairly quickly.
    As almost all the heat in the Earth’s climate system is in the oceans, warmer SST mean the Earth’s climate is cooling, because the basic climate cycle of ocean heat to atmosphere to space has increased.
    As Anthony suggests, this is likely due to ocean current variations or cycles.
    Note the ocean is heated directly by sunshine.

  3. The article says in the second paragraph: “The National Climatic Data Center, the government agency that keeps weather records, says the average global ocean temperature in July was 62.6 degrees.”
    You found something saying the temperature was “0.59°C (1.06°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F).”
    Add 1.06 and 61.5, then round off the result (66.56) to tenths: 62.6 degrees.
    It may not be the right way to state the global average, but I think that’s how the reporter did it.

  4. Anthony–
    They may have just added the global average anomaly (1.06F) to the average global temperature (61.5F). That gives 62.56 which, rounded off, becomes 62.6.

  5. For those who are interested in the AP declaring war on bloggers, this is a very old war they are fighting. Bloggers are merely the latest foe. Here is a link to the U.S. Supreme Court case (from 1918) that addresses who has the rights to news – in the U.S. WUWT has an international following, and the outcome may be different in other countries.
    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=248&invol=215
    This is a famous case – and features AP as plaintiff, INS as defendant. The language is a bit archaic and stilted to the modern reader.
    The Court held that news is not copyrightable, but is in the public domain. The Court decided this case as one of unfair competition in business. INS was not allowed to profit by riding the coat-tails of AP, who had expended considerable time and effort to create the news – in those days, by necessity, in the form of newspapers.
    What is interesting is that the commercial value of news is time-dependent. Web bloggers who copy the news into their blog a few days after AP writes their story may have an excellent defense.
    Notice: none of the above is, nor is intended to be, legal advice. Anyone who requires legal advice on a particular matter should consult an attorney.

  6. I will appreciate the nice winter here in the NW, but with the past cold winter, and declining atmospheric temps, It makes no sense that this extra heat would have come from the atmosphere. Certainly won’t stop the warmers from declaring victory. And a higher ocean temp should lead to a warmer atmosphere in the year ahead.
    Another post I read yesterday suggested this minima may not pack the punch of Dalton, and it looks to me like we could also be in the upward slope of a longer cycle that might eventually take us to another optimum similar to MWP. I was really hoping we could get Dalton II first, to break the hysteria.

  7. “Yes we have some very warm sea surface temperatures this summer, we also had the coolest summer surface temperatures on record in many places in the USA.”

    Why are you comparing apples to oranges? There were also some extreme warm events around the world, including in the US in July, but that factoid is as revealing about the global average as the number of goals scored in one game when assessing a teams’ seasonal statistics.
    I guess you’d think something fishy was going on if a reporting of teams’ dominance in a season was not ‘balanced’ by mentioning that they lost a few matches along the way…
    And if you’re going to talk about balance, then you should ‘balance’ your reportage of a few cold weather events by mentioning regiona warm weather events. Agenda much?

    But the question is: is this warmth an event to be concerned about?

    That’s a straw man you’re weaving there. This is a weather anomaly. Run this bit of data with another 360 month’s worth and then you’re talking climate.
    A handful of regional weather events, hot or cold, tells you nothing about the global average. When will people learn?
    If you think you’re balancing a perceived bias, it’s hardly a good demonstration to repeat the fault.
    REPLY: If you’ll note, the story is mostly US centric, citing the US coastal temperatures, and the US NCDC. I’m not really concerned if you don’t like that I also focused on the USA in my rebuttal. If the story was from the BBC, citing Hadley CRU, and about beach temperatures in the UK where you are from I would have looked into that. I could write a hundred different things and somebody would disagree with it. What is most interesting though is that you completely ignored the issue of the missing citation source for the 62.6 degrees global ocean temperature. We’ll see more about that soon.
    I also have two global SST maps and charts listed in the article. I’d venture the last one you’ve never seen before until this article.
    Oh and about “agenda”, I’m really not the least bit concerned about your opinion on that and here is why.
    1) How many rebuttal articles can you find to Seth Borenstein’s AP article?
    Google says 10,700 that have this exact title: “In hot water World sets ocean temperature record”
    2) In a similar story, highlighted by Dr. Roger Pielke Junior we have this:
    27 = the number of news stories covering Michael Mann and colleagues’ new paper claiming that Atlantic hurricanes are at a 1,00o-year high.
    3 = the number of news stories covering Chris Landsea and colleagues’ new paper claiming that there is no trend in Atlantic hurricanes over a century.
    And you are worried about my one article not covering everything to your satisfaction in the face of overwhelming media bias towards warmist stories? Bugger off!
    – Anthony

  8. Talk about cherry picking:
    “The Mediterranean is about three degrees warmer than normal. Higher temperatures rule in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.”
    My half of the mediterranean is prectically the coldest july august sea I have ever seen, which is born out by:
    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.html
    Seems that the part closest to the Sahara is warmer by 1.5 C and that is what they are using !!
    Why should I believe the rest of the assertion of the article?

  9. The global ocean surface temperature for July 2009 ((WAS ?)) the warmest on record, 0.59°C (1.06°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F). This broke the previous July record set in 1998.
    BUT HOW DOES CO2 WARM THE OCEAN ?????????????
    sun tsi doeth ok i got it—— geo thermal doeth i got that—– but co2??????
    cooling…. air is thicker so the water does not boil????(evaporate) so it stays hotter longer???? anyone?????
    I am just saying ……….

  10. I may well be wrong but increased sea surface temperatures have to come from somewhere, is it coming from increased surface air temperatures or is it due to thermal transfer from the waters beneath, is the deeper ocean cooling by transfering its heat content to the surface where it is more easily dissipated?
    Warmer sea surface temperatures allied to a deeper sub surface ocean cooling may be a sign of the general cooling to come.
    I understand that the oceans are a giant heat pump/heat storage unit but my understanding of thermodynamics is limited to say the least, perhaps someone can help?
    Are we looking at the beginning of a sharp drop in ocean temperatures with the lower levels transfering its stored heat to the surface or will the warm surface waters transfer this heat down to the deeper ocean?

  11. Surface temperatures are a function of wind speeds. Increase the trade winds by a few mph, you decrease the surface temperature.
    You can experience this “first hand” (so to speak) by dunking your hand in water. Place it in front of a fan. Get colder? Sure it did. Same thing happens with sea surface temperatures. More wind, lower temperature.
    What he is really saying is that the winds are calmer than average, not that the climate is “warmer”.

  12. If you’ll note, the story is mostly US centric, citing the US coastal temperatures, and the US NCDC.

    You conflated global average with local in your top post.
    <blockquote.The AP story is written by Seth Borenstein. Seth trends to report the warmest side of things in the worst way, so take the story with a grain of salt. For example, Portland Maine also set a new record low for July Temperatures, see here. I don’t think Seth covered that one nor the -50°F all time statewide Maine record low on January 16th, 2009
    That Seth Borenstein mentioned warm water areas around the US as a 'consequence' of high global SSTs does not acquit you of repeating the error with a different purpose.

    What is most interesting though is that you completely ignored the issue of the missing citation source for the 62.6 degrees ocean temperature. We’ll see more about that soon.

    I did ignore it, because I assumed it was an error of some kind propagated by or through the AP. The actual value is meaningless to Joe Average. The fact remains that July global SSTs are the hottest for that month in the instrumental record.
    If you’re maintaining that the media get things wrong, well duh. Anyone in the great climate debates knows that, and sensationalism and misinformation swings all sorts of ways, to the dissatisfaction of ‘skeptics’ and activists alike. It’s hardly news. But repeatedly blogging about it with a certain agenda in mind doesn’t deserve to be annointed as ‘balance’. Or can we expect a post soon that emphasises warm weather events in the continental US instead of emphasising cold weather events and playing down any warmth?
    REPLY: Oh puhlezze. Don’t lecture me on agenda. Hundreds to thousands of media articles cover warm events, very few cover cold events. This AP article gets broad coverage and yes does exactly what you complain to me about – mentioning local effects in the USA. It gets millions of eyeballs to my few thousand.
    Yes, I don’t see you complaining about that warm imbalance in reporting. Perhaps that imbalance fits your agenda?
    The SST value in the AP article is important not to Joe average, but in how it was arrived at.
    And yes, I cover warm events and issues if you’d bothered to look. Here’s just a few from the last couple of months:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/07/18/animating-ghcn-global-temperature-anomalies-from-ncdc/
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/07/16/ncdc-june-2009-second-warmest-on-record-globally/
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/07/17/pielke-sr-hypothesis-on-daily-uah-lt-records/
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/16/how-not-to-measure-temperature-part-88-honolulus-official-temperature-2/
    If you are unhappy with WUWT my advice is this: get your own blog and you can run it any way you wish. So far I’ve had great success with what I write about and the style I use. Feel free to try a challenge on your terms with your own blog.
    – Anthony

  13. What are all those thousands of diving sensors monitored by NOAA saying about current ocean temps? Seems to me they’d be rather more reliable than some regional readings, no?

  14. I’d like to support Cassandra’s question. If this surface heat has come up from the 500m level say so that the ocean is draining its heat bank then it will have to refill it sometime presumably reducing atmospheric heating as it does so.
    Incidentally is the apparent Atlantic tropical coolness due to hurricane Bill pumping trade winds hence evaporation hence heat out off the ocean?

  15. This is the best site in the world. Crosspatch, you rock… but how deep do they measure these SST temps (and have they accounted for evaporative cooling in their “adjustments”)? Anthony… that was a full frontal smackdown, and much enjoyed.

  16. And yet for some reason, this alleged broad-based increase in oceanic temperatures has had absolutely no visible volumetric effect.
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/
    I had been aware of the repeal of the laws of common sense in recent years, but had not yet had it brought to my attention that the laws of chemistry and physics had been similarly repealed.

  17. A sudden increase in sea surface temperature after a decade of no-increase/cooling ocean suggests there are several mechanisms responsible; with the least likely factor being green house gases. That NOAA doesn’t use this as a place to generate more critical scientific inquiry and debate is a dis-service to science and the public. So i will generate a few layman’s questions in light of NOAA’s lack of leadership into scientific inquiry. Any oceanographers here that can answer these questions?
    1. The Argo floats measure down to 750 meters and it is temperature of this total volume that should serve as the metric for any radiative imbalance. Why is just sea surface being reported?
    2. The temperature changes by approximately 15 degrees C from surface to 750 m deep. http://www.windows.ucar.edu/earth/Water/images/sm_temperature_depth.jpg How does this water column mix and how much effect does that have on surface temperature?
    3. Is warmer water being more extensively distributed across the surface? Are warm pools being spread out? Are changes in the PDO, AO, etc changing currents and distributing surface water differently?
    4. Could a cooler ocean cause warmer freshwater inputs from rivers, etc. to remain on the surface longer with less mixing and cooling?
    5. What is the balance between surface heating, evaporation, density changes and sinking of warm water? In other words could there be a paradox in which less heating at the surface causes warmer surface measurements? For example under “extreme” heating, there would be greater evaporation making the warm water saltier and denser and sinking below the surface. The surface temperature thus would not be an accurate measure of the heat input. Again a greater depth and volume are needed to measure climate change and energy imbalances.

  18. Jason Salit (23:51:16) :
    Surface temperatures are just that, surface. There are other measurements of the heat content at depth. I would look for ARGO data and there are other data used for calculating heat content for tropical storm development.
    One of the reasons we have seen a lack of tropical storm development is a lack of heat content (in addition to poor wind conditions aloft and dry African air).
    Surface temperatures are only a part of the story. You have to look at the heat content at depth.

  19. I’m scratching my head about this AP story’s statement:
    “Breaking heat records in water is more ominous as a sign of global warming than breaking temperature marks on land. That’s because water takes longer to heat up and doesn’t cool off as easily, said climate scientist Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria in British Columbia.”
    And then I went to the Rutgers/NOAA link provided by Anthony, and saw that surface water temps off the coast of Maine for Aug 20 were in the 40s and 50s.
    http://www.imcs.rutgers.edu/cool/sat_data/show/?file=../../regions/maine/sst/noaa/2009/img/090820.232.0946.n15.jpg
    WOW, those coastal waters sure cooled down IN A HURRY! …Am I reading the chart wrong??
    Also, the AP story said:
    “The warmer water could add to the melting of sea ice and possibly strengthen some hurricanes.”
    There’s that word again: COULD. Even though NOAA themselves has claimed that sea ice fluctuations and increased tropical storm reporting are unrelated to “warming oceans”, it didnt stop Seth from “reporting” that it COULD happen!
    Well…you never know…it COULD! …it MIGHT!

  20. Are we looking at the beginning of a sharp drop in ocean temperatures with the lower levels transfering its stored heat to the surface or will the warm surface waters transfer this heat down to the deeper ocean?
    The former. As is regularly pointed out here, it is physically impossible for the atmosphere to warm the oceans.
    Sunshine heats the oceans below the surface. Evaporation cools the oceans at their surface. Heat transfer is always upwards. Except perhaps for some small local anomalies due salinity differences.
    If you have ever dived in a tropical ocean, you will have observed that as you descend, water temperature decreases at about the same rate as sunlight decreases.

  21. The global ocean surface temperature for July 2009 was the warmest on record since 1998.
    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadsst2/diagnostics/global/nh+sh/monthly
    2009/06 0.5
    1998/03 0.512
    2009/07 0.512
    1998/06 0.519
    1998/04 0.527
    1998/05 0.53
    1998/07 0.554
    1998/08 0.555
    We find that only the period 1998/04 to 1998/08 had higher sea surface temperatures than now.
    Ocean heat is the most important measure for global changes in temperature. This is obvious because more than 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by oceans, seas, and lakes.
    See:
    http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/coast_sea/todays-sea-surface-temperature/sea-surface-temperature-global-ocean
    P.S.: Changes can happen quickly. In May 1999, the anomaly has dropped to 0.192!

  22. Adam Grey (22:32:35) :
    “A handful of regional weather events, hot or cold, tells you nothing about the global average. When will people learn?
    If you think you’re balancing a perceived bias, it’s hardly a good demonstration to repeat the fault.”
    This is a comment/reproach by alarmists that is repeated ad nauseam but it never seems to register with them that the skeptics’ balancing act is an attempt to demonstrate the absurdity of the warm bias in the media.

  23. “Philip_B (21:50:36) :
    SST measure the rate at which the oceans release heat to the atmosphere. Once the heat is in the atmosphere it is lost to space fairly quickly.
    As almost all the heat in the Earth’s climate system is in the oceans, warmer SST mean the Earth’s climate is cooling, because the basic climate cycle of ocean heat to atmosphere to space has increased.
    As Anthony suggests, this is likely due to ocean current variations or cycles.
    Note the ocean is heated directly by sunshine”
    Near enough but the most important relationship is between the amount of solar radiation reaching the sea surface and the speed of energy release by the oceans which varies according to the global average phase state.
    Then there is this mechanism which I mentioned elsewhere:
    “The oceans change their net energy release and net energy absorption characteristics at 25 to 30 year intervals quite independently of anything the sun does.
    Increasing the rate of energy flow from ocean to the air reflects an increase in the rate of energy flow through the oceans. The ocean energy content falls but the air warms.
    Decreasing the rate of energy flow to the air reflects a reduction in the rate of energy flow through the oceans. The ocean energy content rises but the air cools.
    All the while the sun varies independently, different in both timing and scale which is why I say the net energy budget outcome is a consequence of the interplay of the two processes sometimes supplementing and sometimes offsetting one another.
    I don’t know why the oceans do as they do but we see it. My best guess for the reason is the idea of an oscillation set up between the variability of solar input such as it is and variations within the oceans arising from changing density, temperature and movements.
    Slower passage of solar energy through the oceans generates more heat energy within the oceans than can be explained by solar changes alone. Just like an electrical resistor a slower passage of energy reduces voltage but increases the heat energy generated.
    The increase in wavelength as the Earth converts incoming solar radiation to outgoing longwave is the equivalent of the reduction in voltage. In both cases additional heat energy is produced within the system independently of anything that the source of energy does

  24. Hundreds to thousands of media articles cover warm events, very few cover cold events.

    I ran a search to see if that assertion stacked up. I didn’t experiment with with search terms, just ran with the first one and and changed one variable, keeping it US-centric in line with the main agenda of the post and assuming that this is the bulk of your media watching.
    “news america july 2009 temperature cool weather”75 million hits.
    “news america july 2009 temperature warm weather”15 million hits.
    Now I’ll try ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ instead of ‘warm’ and ‘cool’
    “news america july 2009 temperature cold weather”17 million hits
    news america july 2009 temperature hot weather”10 million hits
    I didn’t expect such a big discrepancy. But the bias, if any, is the other way you’re suggesting.

    This AP article gets broad coverage and yes does exactly what you complain to me about – mentioning local effects in the USA.

    Indeed it does. It says that the consequence of warm SSTs globally is felt in local SSTs in some places around the US. That’s not quite the conflation you were making, but neither is it great reporting. That does not excuse anyone else of speciously conflating information, and in your case, you went further by conflating (local) land surface weather with ocean temps.
    I’m not trying to resurrect the AP report, I’m commenting on your post, which further muddies an issue muddily reported by the AP, and which you call ‘balanced’ – and which is part of a long-term, ubiquitous project to address a perceived media bias that doesn’t exist.
    REPLY: Your methodology of complaint is lame. Borenstein cites some beach water temps, and I respond to those specifically, and geographically with some SST maps to show reasons why. Then you complain that I “make the same error”. Well, that claim is rubbish. Making counterpoints on issues raised is not the same as making the points in the first place. Your spin simply doesn’t work.
    Further, you say “conflate” as if I don’t know the difference between local, regional, and global, which is further rubbish.
    If I had written an article on SST’s where I used a few points of beach temperature on the globe to bolster an argument, you’d have an issue worth arguing about. But responding to points in the original article is different. For example, in a court of law, erroneous points that may lend credence to a case might be brought up by the defense and then attacked by the prosecutor. Happens all the time. Does that make the prosecutor guilty of bringing up misleading information in an effort to score points with the jury? Of course it doesn’t.
    As for your Google search skills, you’ll see below that other commenters have taken you to task for it. There is indeed a real media bias when it comes to global warming stories. As a member of the media myself for 25 years, I can speak with some authority on his issue.
    “If it bleeds it leads” is a common catchphrase for news. The same thing has been regularly applied to global warming articles. Your own bias prevents you from seeing it. – Anthony

  25. The remarks were:
    ————–
    Fluffy Clouds (Tim L) (22:37:28) :
    The global ocean surface temperature for July 2009 ((WAS ?)) the warmest on record, 0.59°C (1.06°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F). This broke the previous July record set in 1998.
    BUT HOW DOES CO2 WARM THE OCEAN ?????????????
    [—snip rest—]
    ————–
    In all of this it bears keeping in mind that just because ~some~ ocean areas got warmer, it does =not= mean that ALL areas got warmer.
    .
    I have a great degree of disdain for the term ‘global average,’ inasmuch that it is so misleading that it gives rise to false prognostications.
    .
    There are so very many variables to consider when remarking of what appears to be an ‘anomaly,’ that merely talking about the anomalies —in a general way— tends to be very misleading otherwise.
    .
    As with the land, the oceans are affected by the jet stream and the weather patterns which it generates.
    .
    Further to that is the Sun itself which radiates across a wide energy spectrum, not all of which is measured and quantified.
    .
    The gist of this whole ‘news story’ then, is just this: Hype happens.
    .
    You know: If it bleeds, it reads. If the waters were colder this year, would the same degree of hoopla have been expended for a story?
    .
    Therein lay the rub.
    .
    The sky is falling!!! No wait: It’s raising!
    .
    Oh, sorry: It’s just moving around … Just as it has always.
    .
    In conclusion then, I offer this bit of wisdom from a past wise old man:
    ————–
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”
    H.L. Menchen
    ————–
    And there you have it!

  26. Cooler, hotter….. as far as I am concerned, It’s all Natural variation.
    Also, I would like to know the process which allows a warmer Ocean to be heated by a cooler atmosphere??? As far as I am concerned it is mainly direct sunlight that heats the ocean surface.
    The AGW hypothesis certainly has some funny bits in it…. apart for the bits that are just plain absurd.
    And Crosspatch is right. Higher SST’s would mean calmer seas.

  27. As with surface temperatures we need to step back and
    a) wonder at the practicality of a global temperature
    b) Look back in time to ascertain how temperatures respond over a long period.
    Last year I wrote a series of short pieces on ‘Fish as a temperature proxy’ which traced back the change from warm, to mid, to cold water fish around the south west coast of Britain. We can trace these from actual records of catches back to around the 13th Century and which also live on in place names such as the Pilchard Inn.
    This extract from the University of Plymouth gives us some idea that -like surface temperatures- sea temperatures are constantly fluctuating (Also note that historic records are being constantly ‘adjusted.’ See the CA debate on ‘buckets.’)
    “Detection of environmental change in a marine ecosystem—evidence from the western English Channel
    References and further reading may be available for this article. To view references and further reading you must purchase this article.
    Stephen J. Hawkins, , Alan J. Southward and Martin J. Genner
    Marine Biological Association of the UK, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK
    Received 28 January 2002; revised 1 November 2002; accepted 25 November 2002. ; Available online 4 February 2003.
    Abstract
    To separate human-induced changes from natural fluctuations in marine life requires long-term research. The western English Channel has been investigated from Plymouth for over 100 years. The abundance of marine life has been recorded and related to physical changes in the environment. By comparing different parts of the ecosystem we can demonstrate historic natural fluctuations, allowing prediction of effects of future global change. From the 1920s to the 1950s there was a period of warming of the sea, with increases in abundance of species of fish, plankton and intertidal organisms that are typically common in warmer waters to the south of Britain. After 1962 the sea cooled down and northern cold-water species became more abundant. Since the 1980s regional sea surface temperature has increased again and warm-water species are once more becoming abundant.”
    This is part of an aeons old natural cycle-unless someone can demonstrate that Man has interfered with that cycle?
    Tonyb

  28. Cassandra radiation don’t work that way. The reason the buoys are set at that depth is because of radiation factors top down. It is reasonable that radiation top down cannot penenetrate that far, Hot is lighter than cold.
    Think about it this way, when you heat water for your coffee where is the heat applied.
    There are other factors the earth itself has equilbirum points based on radiation over time and distance from the sun. Water temperature is dependendent on deptg to a cut off point diminishing returns.
    Side note: Anthony “bugger off”, surely a little bit of latin would surely be less emotive but the media, heavyweights are pissed really pissed their business models are not making the cut.
    Oops no merminks must piss off.

  29. No mystery to that AP silly story.
    Hurricane season off to a slow start – TS Ana sputtered on & off, Claudette was a slight TS but dissipated quickly upon landfall, and Bill looks like it’ll miss most land areas until reaching Canada’s maritime provinces. No story here.
    Arctic sea ice melt has slowed and looks like it won’t hit a record. Possibly will have more ice in area, extent, & volume than last year. No story here.
    Ahh, but sea temps – now there’s a summer slant they can use. Don’t mention variations in ocean currents and eddies. It’s all spin, spin, spin.
    And the clowns wonder why the major media is dying on the vine. People read the spin and press releases that pass for journalism these days and have decided to look elsewhere for facts.

  30. I have to question the AP report on the Arctic temperatures being “as much as 10 degrees above average”, the ice extrent is currently not much below the 10 year average, which, considering that most melting come from below rather than above, impiles average sea temperatures. All the blogs I have read from the various yachts trying to get through the North West Passage suggest the sea temperatures are currently about 34F. So how could the seas have been on average 10 degrees colder than they are now? Closer to home, it is true that sea temperatures around Scotland have been warmer than average in recent years, but I spoke to some divers a few week ago who reported that the temperatures off Oban were extremely chilly earlier this year. This report reeks of warmist spin and propaganda.

  31. “And you are worried about my one article not covering everything to your satisfaction in the face of overwhelming media bias towards warmist stories? Bugger off!”
    Priceless!
    but at least you offer polite and reasonable advice when he refuses to stay down – all credit to you:
    “If you are unhappy with WUWT my advice is this: get your own blog and you can run it any way you wish. So far I’ve had great success with what I write about and the style I use. Feel free to try a challenge on your terms with your own blog.”

  32. Jim: I can at least answer your question 5. This opposition between hot-and-thus-less-dense and salty-then-heavier is well known in oceanic mixing – there’s a sort of competition arising between these two opposite effects and everything will depend on the ration between the alt and temperature diffusivities. This process is hence known as “double diffusion”. I even think it is one of the reasons why hot water can accumulate beneath colder water during la ninas and then “suddenly” emerge during el ninos.

  33. Antony:
    Is the Sea Surface Temperature quoted mesured from satellites using infraread remote sensing methoology, that only measures the top skin of the water, that is less than the top 1 mm (probably more like the top 1/100 mm)?
    How does this compare with the ARGO buyos that measure down to 2000 meters? Is the Argo data also “warmest on record”?
    Regards
    Agust Bjarnason

  34. Hmm I hadn’t considered that enough evaporation could cause extra salinity/density in warm water so that it sank into colder water. It is not safe to assume that warm water rises in the oceans.

  35. Chris Thorne (23:55:20): The SST increase should not affect ocean volume (or sea level) because it is a very small part of the overall ocean. I think your general point is good though, we should be more afraid of volume stopping its increase which would mean we are entering overall global cooling.

  36. actually I think the argo floats monitor temp and salinity to 2000 m deep, the 750 m is about where the thermocline is and deep ocean water is underneath at very low temps, down to 2 to 4 degc. There seems to be boundary layers of salinity which defines deep ocean waters.
    Argo results seem to show the ocean currents are somewhat more complex than expected.

  37. What about the lack of Tropical Storms in the Atlantic? They transfer heat energy from the Sea Surface to the upper atmosphere. This has been a very slow year for Tropical Storms. Fewer Tropical Storms could mean that less heat is transported out of the Ocean to the Stratosphere. That might explain a higher SST.

  38. Temperature. Heat. They are NOT the same thing.
    What does Argo say about the heat content of the oceans this summer? You know, since that is the actual metric used to determine if the oceans are actually getting warmer…..

  39. to : anthony . Why does Spaceweather(dot)com make an announcement today, posting about how the sun is on the verge of breaking a record of 52 spotless days back in jul.aug.sept 2008? I ask this, because, I thought that NOAA and the NGDC on Sept 2 of 2008 agreed with the SIDC about a sunspot occuring august 22 of that same year . I don’t get it. Why would NOAA make such a claim or S.W. for that matter. To make that claim, wouldn’t they have to concede that august 08 was actually the first spotless month since 1913. You know, the whole thing is becoming obsurd. How can anyone rely on these govt agencies anymore to inform the public. – David Alan –

  40. “The world’s oceans this summer are the warmest on record.
    The National Climatic Data Center, the government agency that keeps weather records, says the average global ocean temperature in July was 62.6 degrees…”
    Borenstein is talking about ocean temperature while his data is only related to surface temperatures. he either doesn’t understand the difference or deliberately falsifies the argos data of the recent years.

  41. The global ocean surface temperature for July 2009 was the warmest on record, 1.06 degrees F (0.59 degree C) above the 20th century average of 61.5 degrees F
    Add 1.06 to 61.5 and you get 62.56 and I bet he rounded up.. yup I think that link in my former post is the one you are lookin for

  42. Totally OT Anthony but Space Weather.com is reporting the following
    “QUIET SUN: According to NOAA sunspot counts, the longest stretch of spotless suns during the current solar minimum was 52 days in July, August and Sept. of 2008. The current spate of blank suns is putting that record in jeopardy. There have been no sunspots for almost 42 days and there are none in the offing. Deep solar minimum continues.”
    I don’t recall this being reported last year, in fact I specifically recall a controversial decision by NASA to back up 2 weeks and count a sunspeck as a sunspot retroactively last August, spoiling the first calendar month without a sunspot (something that looks to be happening this August perhaps).

  43. NOAA it appears no longer uses satellite data in their ocean temperature measurements based on a paper last year coauthored by Tom Peterson. It appears because it measures skin temperatures they found it has a cold bias especially in the southern hemisphere (I don’t know why since in the roaring 40s and furious fifties, the water is well mixed and so measuring the skin temperature is probably pretty much accurate). That colod water over such a large expanse was keeping the SH cold.
    I was told they also do not use the ARGO data in real-time – presumably for the monthly assessments. It appears they have reverted to the Hadley ships at sea and islands to populate the ocean grids? Claiming the buoys are for long term assessment and they don’t have the budget.
    Maybe a year ago, Phil Jones noted that maybe there was more warming to be found in the ocean they were not using. That kind of statement and Peterson’s efforts to first remove UHI in USHCN v2 and then satellites and claim they don’t have the budget to use ARGO data real-time, suggests an agenda driven not science driven effort just in time for Cap-and-Trade and Copenhagen.
    I would like to contact NCDC and confirm these facts. If true, another travesty as far as I am concerned.

  44. Our local weather guy, with eye brow cocked way high, says we are expecting a cold front tomorrow to push down to the Florida peninsular and maybe as far as Jacksonville. I wonder what will the hurricanes do?
    As most people know, cold fronts don’t generally hit Florida in August.
    Got to feed the hoax, anyway they can.
    So my line: Pay more in taxes to the government, so government scientists can pretend to control the weather — Appears to be true. Too bad real science is pushed off the table.

  45. Adam Grey (01:08:02) :
    Now that I’ve finished laughing I can comment.
    If anyone else checked your links, they’d find stories like: “Hyundai Motor America Reports July 2009 Sales” counted. And skimming through a few that actually talk about weather/climate, many of what you call “cooling stories” are in fact “warming stories” with the word “cool” somewhere in the story. And some stories are counted BOTH places and multiple times in the same search.
    Before you go spouting your “Google Searches” as evidence, perhaps you should actually check the data that’s returned and be certain it demonstrates what you think it demonstrates. Yours is as meaningless and methodologically flawed as Mann’s “Hockey Stick”.
    Sorta like understanding the difference between temperature and heat content and how meaningless terms like global average temperature (land or sea surface) are…stuff like that.

  46. Could it be that overall the global ocean heat content is just exhausting its stored energy? Ot is July just an anamoly? I think back in January of this year there was an unexpected spike in global temperatures. For a few weeks this anomaly generated quite a bit of excitement; however, no one really came up with a good explaination. Things quited down a bit after that.
    I do think it is fair to say that GHGs do not force ocean temperatures to rise (that honor belongs to incoming solar radiation). It could be awhile until someone is able to measure the amount of stored energy in the oceans and compare it to , say, 2005. If the top of the oceans are warming, and if the total amount of incoming solar radiation has decreased these last 24 months, where is the warming coming from? Or perhaps sunspot activity is not quite the perfect proxy for climate, afterall. These are interesting times.
    My guess is that July was an anomaly. El Nino will continue to increase SSTs in the Eastern PAC, but I wouldn’t be surprised if overall things quiet down this autumn. And by late Winter El Nino will begin to wane.

  47. I am a translator and a music composer, not a climatologist, and I may be wrong about this but…
    I notice that NCDC, in their introductory note on their site, warn that they arrived at the numbers that allow them to claim record warm ocean surface temperatures in July by using a NEW set of data, from which they EXCLUDED all satellite data, despite these data being most reliable, because, as they admit, the satellite data “show a bias toward cold.”
    As a reason for this exclusion of the satellite data they cite the “convenience of data users.”
    Is something funny going on here?

  48. P.S. I see that the previous poster (“Red Neck Engineer”) also noticed this strange admission by NCDC of not using the satellite data. So it seems I am not the only one scratching my balding head about this.

  49. Red Nek Engineer (03:48:54) :
    There are more indications if we have a look at this publication from icecap.us:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Who is Really Making Up the Facts
    By Joseph D’Aleo
    In a Time/CNN story by Michael Grunwald “Steven Chu, A Political Scientist” on Chu’s mission to China, attempting to convince them to cooperate on emissions reductions in the December Copenhagen UN conference to discuss the next step after Kyoto (the Chinese are laughing all the way to the bank because they know our pain would be their gain).
    Grunwald noted “When I asked Chu about the earth-is-cooling argument, he rolled his eyes and whipped out a chart showing that the 10 hottest years on record have all been in the past 12 years and that 1998 was the hottest. He mocked the skeptics who focus on that post-1998 blip while ignoring a century-long trend of rising temperatures: “See? It’s gone down! The earth must be cooling!” But then he got serious, almost plaintive: “You know, it’s totally irresponsible. You’re not supposed to make up the facts.””
    I agree with the very last sentence. NOAA, NASA GISS and Hadley though are guilty of exactly that. They have created or enhanced man-made global warming by careless and possibly fraudulent methods. They started by dropping 80% of the world’s stations from their calculations, most rural, by not ensuring the instruments are not improperly sited (90% of the approximately 1000 surveyed and photographed by Anthony Watt’s team of volunteers do not meet the government’s own published standards), by not adjusting properly for the urbanization warming that has taken place as the world’s population rose for 1.6 to 6.7 billion people since 1900 (in the case of the US data, actually removing a very good urban adjustment), by employing and using instruments not really meant for precision temperature measurements or with warm biases, and most recently by eliminating ocean data sources like satellite or not using promising new sources like the Argo buoys because they are showing a cold ‘bias’ or cooling when the goal is to show warming in agreement with the models and their forecasts.
    With the data they perform then an homogenization adjustment that blends the good with the bad (a little like the toxic assets in the mortgage crises). Though this may improve some of the bad data, it degrades the good data. This is a little like mixing pure spring water with sludge, the sludge is a little less disgusting, but the result is not potable.
    Even the prior CCSP found that most of the warming is with the minimum temperatures in higher latitude cities and in winter, all classic characteristics of the urban heat island.
    Dozens of peer review papers have been published and new ones appear monthly showing that the local factors like urbanization are responsible for an exaggeration of the warming longer term by 20 to 50% or even more.
    LAST CENTURY OF “WARMING”
    The last century of temperatures from the UK Hadley Center shows the upward trend used by the IPCC. I have added the 60 year cycle that is evident in the data set. We have just begun a leg down right about on schedule.
    We have posted other stories by Roger Pielke Jr. Anthony Watts, Timothy Ball, and Steve McIntyre recounted some of the adventures attempting unsuccessfully to date to get access to the raw data and adjustments from Hadley using official channels. We won’t get into that here.
    With more stability of the United States with respect to the rural data, you sere a much smaller upward trend longer term and again warming confined to relatively short 20-30 year intervals even as CO2 rose. The rate of warming from the 1910s to 1930s was actually greater than that from 1979 to 1998.
    When you correct for the issues discussed above, the recent decades fall down in comparison with the 1930s to 1950s when most of the heat records were set. You reduce the 10 of 10 to maybe 2 to 5 in ten warmest years. The data sets all show a 60 year cycle and one would expect years near the peaks would tend to rank among warmest and the minimums rank among the coldest.
    1930S THE WARMEST DECADE?
    Looking at the record highs one gets the clear impression we are dealing with cyclical changes and that the warmth in the 1930s to 1950s exceeded that of the recent decades. This decades almost ended, has fewer heat records than any decade in a century.
    The all time state record highs show the dominance of the 1930s (24 of the 50 records).
    GLOBAL STATION DROPOUT
    You can see the coverage difference between the stations on this GISS analysis of the NOAA gathered stations from 1978 versus that in 2008. You can see the stations grow then suddenly disappear in this animation from John W. Goetz here. See in this John Goetz post 1079 stations worldwide contributed to the GISS analysis, 134 of them being located in the 50 US states. Many, many hundreds of stations that have historically been included in the record and still collect data today continue to be ignored by NOAA and GISS in global temperature calculations (in 1970s the number of stations totaled well over 6000). Data is available in the large holes in places like Canada and Brazil and Africa, but NOAA appears not to be accessing it. The last year has been very cold in Canada.
    FIXING OR IGNORING THE COOLING OCEAN PROBLEM
    Also they in the last year made changes to the ocean temperature data base removing the satellite data that they claimed was giving a cold bias to the data especially in the southern hemisphere. The oceans now are shown to be warm just about everywhere and in June was the warmest of the record. See NOAA’s map below. Note most of the world’s ocean were warmer than normal (for the oceans it was the warmest June on record).
    This is true even though the 3342 NOAA ARGO floats worldwide are showing cooling. Plotted data (graph courtesy of SPPI) from the ARGO buoys by NOAA’s Willis and Loehle (2009). It appears there is no effort being made to use this in monthly global assessments.
    So Secretary Chu, as science advisor who claims to care about being responsible, may I suggest you do an investigation of this data debacle. I assure you that those of us who have worked with it for many years care about it more than you could ever imagine. I have a few names you start with. See more complete analysis here.
    Dr. Vincent Gray’s New Zealand Newsletter just out covers some of the the same territory here.
    Take a look at the original publication for the links and the graphs.

  50. Red Neck Engineer and Alexander
    Below is the executive explanation of changes and reconstruction of existing figures from 2008- which now excludes satellite data.
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/sst/papers/merged-product-v3.pdf
    This is the detailed document from which the executive statement comes.
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/sst/papers/SEA.temps08.pdf
    It must be remembered that Historic global SST data is even more sparse than surface global temperatures. Both have their genesis in James Hansens’ 1986 document which sems to have aquired a factual scientific basis from which fractions of a degree are calculated.
    We may know SST from extremely localised locations for a few decades, but it is misleading to pretend this is a finely tuned science, and when historic data is adjusted (whichever way) we need to ensure we are comparing like for like.
    tonyb

  51. 2 comments:
    1) If this is the warmest the oceans have been since the 1998 super el nino, then it is very interesting that the air temps are as low as they are – compare the 1998 air temp spike to where we are at now:
    http://www.junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/UAHMSUglobe.html
    2) By the tone of the article, you can see where this is going – ocean temps are going the to be the new global warming … err climate change …. err ocean warming, yeah…. that’s it, ocean warming ….. very scary.

  52. Sorry for my ignorance down here in Oz, but is it cherry picking season in the USA? It must be very pleasant for you all to be able to have a nice warm swim given all the record low July temperatures we have been hearing about. Living as we do on the beach next to the Pacific I can tell youse all that warm and cold waters come and go all the time. Why is that nowadays such a conceptual challenge? We live in different times..

  53. Also as Agst noted the satellites measure the skin temperature. But I believe NOAAs claim that the cold bias is worst in mid to high latitudes of the southern hemisphere is bogus. The winds in the roaring forties and furious fifties, keep the water well mixed much of the time and the skin temperatures should be representative. The persistent cold in the SH oceans seems to have been like the MWP, an inconvenient fact that e3fforst needed to be made to address.
    Steve McIntyre’s friend Phil Jones of the Hadley Center last year (menitoned on CA) remarked perhaps there was more warmth to be found in the oceans.
    Peterson (who had engineered the removal of the UHI from NCDC USHCN) and NOAA took on the challenge and removed the satellite and do not use the ARGO data real time. Reverting back to the old Hadley ship and island to fill in the global grids approach led to sudden leap up of ocean and thus global temperatures given that 70% world is ocean. This last fact almost guarantees every month will rank somewhere in top 5 warmest ever.
    Just in time for Cap and Tax and Copenhagen.

  54. Maybe there was a lot of cold weather in July.
    Every year, globally and regionally, there are hot and cold records broken in various locations. All this tells us is that weather is variable, which isn’t news.
    The July anomaly for the continental US was near to the 1901 – 2000 baseline. Meanwhile, there were warm and cool events reported all over the nation.
    Anthony put it that the news is skewed to warm stories. I tested that for the month of July, the temporal parameter of the post at the top of this thread, and for the continental US. If there was this outrageous bias towards warm stories Anthony is positive is going on, I would have expected to see that reflected in a search of weather for the US July 2009.
    So I just now chose a warm month for the continental US at random. July 2005.
    Googling under search terms “news america warm weather temperature july 2005″ I got 146 thousand hits.
    Googling under search terms “news america cool weather temperature july 2005″ I got 1.3 million hits.
    Googling under search terms “news america hot weather temperature july 2005″ I got 124 thousand hits.
    Googling under search terms “news america cold weather temperature july 2005″ I got 117 thousand hits.
    This was for a hot July in the US record (then the 12th hottest on record).
    Intrigued by my discoveries – I haven’t done these searches before – I have now removed any date from the search string.
    “news america warm weather temperature” = 290 thousand hits.
    “news america cool weather temperature” = 8 million hits.
    “news america hot weather temperature” = 1 million hits.
    “news america cold weather temperature” = 773 thousand hits.
    Most of the continental US anomalies have been above the baseline since internet reporting began, so I’d expect to see a few more warm stories – generally, it’s been warmer than ‘normal’. Add bias to that and I’d expect to see – what? – twice the number of warm or hot stories. I’m not seeing anything like that, and indeed the reporting rather seems to clearly favour cool stories. And for the ‘average’ month July 2009, there have been far more cool/cold reports than otherwise.
    Anthony pointed out the dearth of coverage on the Landsea paper. That’s a fair call, but I don’t agree with the generalization.

  55. “. . .That’s because water takes longer to heat up and doesn’t cool off as easily, said climate scientist Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria in British Columbia.”
    Quite. Water takes longer to heat up. So how in the name of God does water temperatures manage to shoot up multiple degrees in a single month?
    It has not of course. You’ve already spotted the obvious flaws. These are 1) Surface temperatures 2) Non global.
    I would only be interested in what the argo network tells us and I am pretty sure this will be unchanged from the previous month otherwise we will have to rewrite the laws of physics.
    I lean towards the view that heat has been transferred from other areas. Sometime in the future we make get the reverse situation. I wonder if Seth will be reporting that?

  56. jeez (03:27:56) : in response to Adam Grey:
    You beat me to it Jeez.
    “news america july 2009 temperature cold weather” – 17 million hits
    news america july 2009 temperature hot weather” – 10 million hits
    I didn’t expect such a big discrepancy. ”
    The discrepancy is probably entirely due to the fact that the weather in the US in July 2009 was (drum roll) – cold!

  57. Not using the satellite data verges on fraud, because it is a comprehensive and presumably accurate measure of SST. Nothing else comes close. I don’t believe Argo measures SSTs. To exclude it because it shows a warming bias is simply denial of the best data we have. And so the corruption of science goes on.
    As Red Neck Engineer points out, their ‘new’ data is probably Hadley’s inaccurate and highly non-random ship’s intake data, which shows warming compared to the even more inaccurate buckets over the side of ships data.

  58. Alexander Feht (04:33:56) :
    So their basing their present number on a different source than previously? Oh great. It’s going to be hard to do site survey’s on ship inlet valves and buckets, Anthony.
    I seem to remember there was just a paper on ocean heat content (Dr. Pielke?) showing it hadn’t increased recently. If the oceans are warming we should be seeing increases in sea level. I’m going to bet that we won’t see sea level data for awhile because the numbers may go down.

  59. Anthony
    You have obviuosly gleaned some information from Mr Grey’s email address to which we are not privy. It is very unusual for you to be soooo expressive but I did LOL.

  60. It looks like we have another cooking the books episode going on – publish a paper justifying a new process/algorithm – programmers implementing the new process take the high side of each assumption that must be made – viola, out pops another record.
    Meanwhile, everyone comments how the weather is unusually cold right now – you feel a little embarassed about putting a coat on in August when all these records are being set.
    Another interesting point is that, in July 2009,
    – the average Ocean surface temperature was 16.4C;
    – the average Land surface temperature is 14.3C;
    So the ocean surface is warmer than the land (I think this is the case throughout the year, not just in July).
    – some of this will be due to the higher altitude of land;
    – the oceans cool off down to 1.5C as one goes deeper so, in total, the oceans are cooler than the land and the atmosphere at the surface;
    – but it is difficult to see how the oceans are sinking away greenhouse effect warming when they are warmer than the land and atmosphere on average.

  61. Stephen Wilde: You wrote, “SST measure the rate at which the oceans release heat to the atmosphere.”
    Wrong. You’d need to include a change in time to measure rate. SST in and of itself is a snapshot of an average temperature for a given month or week or day.
    You wrote, “Once the heat is in the atmosphere it is lost to space fairly quickly.”
    The rise in Northern Hemisphere Mid-to-High Latitude TLT anomalies that resulted from the 1997/98 El Nino lasted at least until the El Nino of 2002/03, which bumped them up again, so “fairly quickly” needs to be clarified.

  62. The article begins with an anecdote about Maine’s coastal waters, and it conveys a false impression. Shallower waters along Maine’s coast can get into the low 70s if the sea is calm and there’s a heat wave going on, two factors that were both operative over the last week up that way. When Hurricane Bill passes and roils the waters in the coming days, the water temperature at the beach will drop by 5 to 10 degrees in 24 hours. None of this is in any way unusual.
    What is unusual is the next “fact” in Borenstein’s story, that the water temperature in Ocean City last week was 88 degrees. It was not, never has been, and never will be. I’m a surfer, and I know something about the spread of ocean temperatures along the East Coast. I looked at several buoys to confirm what I already knew and, for good measure, phoned a surf shop in Ocean City. The water last week there varied between 76 and 78 degrees.
    Here’s a link to the nearest buoy to the Delaware shore:
    http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=44009
    Bear in mind, too, that the temperature of 78 degrees that the buoy shows is influenced by being farther out into the warm Gulf Stream; the ocean surface is actually cooler right up against the coast.
    Please note that the top of Borenstein’s article, the part he was using to grab people’s attention, had two factual errors. This is not a matter of cherry-picking.

  63. OK, lets do some other cherry picking. According AMSRE Sea Ice Extent we have at the moment at about 45 Nord and 145 East, between Sachalin and Hokkaido, sea ice?

  64. Apologies. I did not take the time to observe that the version of Borenstein’s article linked above was different from one I’d already commented upon elsewhere which I paste below:
    [snip – sorry Harold, I can’t publish the AP article in toto here, see the note in my article about AP declaring war on bloggers, Anthony]

  65. From NOAA release on July
    Please Note: Effective with the July 2009 State of the Climate Report, NCDC transitioned to the new version (version 3b) of the extended reconstructed sea surface temperature (ERSST) dataset. ERSST.v3b is an improved extended SST reconstruction over version 2. Most of the improvements are justified by testing with simulated data. The primary difference in version 3b, compared to version 2, is improved low-frequency tuning that increases the sensitivity to data prior to 1930.
    In ERSST v3b, satellite data was removed from the ERSST product. The addition of satellite data from 1985 to present caused problems for many users. (wonder who complained?)
    Although the satellite data were corrected with respect to the in situ data, a small residual cold bias remained at high southern latitudes where in situ data were sparse. For more information about the differences between ERSST.v3b and ERSST.v2 please read Summary of Recent Changes in the Land-Ocean Temperature Analyses and Improvements to NOAA’s Historical Merged Land-Ocean Surface Temperature Analysis (1880-2006) paper.

  66. I think the warmists have won.
    Everybody is acting as though warm is bad.
    Warm: more food, prosperity, civilization, growth, peace.
    Cold: privation, droughts, desertification, plagues, unrest, war.
    see Heaven and Earth by Ian Plimer
    Even if the AGW promoters were right about CO2 ( they are not) they are wrong about warming being anything but good.

  67. AGW claims the arctic sea ice is melting. AGW claims that the Greenland ice sheet is melting. AGW claims that this will shut down the Gulf Stream and prevent warmer waters from coming north. Northern waters of Maine are “the warmest ever recorded”.
    1 + 1 + 1= 4
    Now I understand.

  68. Nice shot of the 8/20 SST’s what I notice is the continued decline of El Nino note a month ago:
    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2009/anomnight.7.20.2009.gif
    I still say it’s neutral or Nina by December….
    In other words No-NIno…
    last week visited the Southern Oregon coast,(Coos Bay) saw a couplle of old friends,
    including my ret.Coastie CPO pal who’s still active in the reserves,and aux.
    He says-with considerable authority,as he was a USCG Weather guy,No sign of Nino yet.
    Maybe never.No warm water,no increase in southern species.Still cold and getting fall like-warm days followed by thick stratus and fog…

  69. Stephen Wilde: You wrote, “SST measure the rate at which the oceans release heat to the atmosphere.”
    To use SST in this calculation, you also assume that a change in SST over time reflects only heat released to the atmosphere. Surface waters also subduct and rise back to the surface (overturn) over time scales of days, weeks, months, decades…

  70. Adam Grey:
    Do you know the difference between “Weather” and “Climate”? :O 😉
    I did two simple searches.
    1) US Climate cooling 2009 2.2 mil. results
    2) US Climate warming 2009 4.3 mil results
    You just gotta ask the right questions!
    LOL!
    M

  71. And despite all this warm water and “favorable environmental conditions” Hurricane Bill continues to weaken. Now a weak category three. I’m wondering how much the depth of this warm water plays a role.

  72. Google.com hits
    hot: 913,000,000
    cool: 549,000,000
    cold: 267,000,000
    warm: 186,000,000
    hot + warm totals: 1,099,000,000
    cold + cool totals: 816,000,000
    Performing a search in which the word “cool” is not specifically associated with a weather-specific noun — examples include “cool weather” or “cool temperature” — will generate totally meaningless results. (Are you listening, Adam?)
    The two terms (adjective + noun) must be tied together with quotes. Cool has to be used in proper context as the term is mainly used for non-weather related stuff. You’d think that an Aussie would know that. One could also search for complex phrases but the simplest approach is to use a noun plus modifier.
    Google.com hits
    news america july 2009 “warm weather”: 51,000
    news america july 2009 “cool weather”: 15,100
    news america july 2009 “hot weather”: 43,500
    news america july 2009 “cold weather”: 73,600
    warm + hot totals: 94,500
    cool + cold totals: 88,700
    Assuming that these searches yielded meaningful results — and that is a big if — the bias is still towards the hot + warm side of the picture.
    For those who want to use google to prove a point, please learn how to use it properly.

  73. Final note:
    The total for “cool” when used alone exceeded the total for “warm” by 195%. This pretty much guarantees that one will get a larger number of hits for cool no matter what one is looking for. Using cool loosely is totally uncool.

  74. The real question is what is causing the “record” SST? It’s not from greenhouse gases, as the atmosphere isn’t any warmer.
    _ Is it geothermal heat under the sea bed?
    _ Is it (gasp), more solar energy heating the ocean surface?
    _ Is it simply warmer water moving towards cooler water? (Question, does cooler temps in higher latitudes cause more warm water to move from lower latitudes, and doesn’t this warmer SST release more heat, meaning more future cooling?)
    _ Is it a repeat of previous ‘record temperature’ mistakes?
    _ And what does ‘on record’ mean? Since the end of the LIA, since 1979, or somewhere in between?
    Since the Argos floats aren’t measuring any warming below the surface, does this really mean anything, anyway?

  75. Someone please explain this quote to me from the article:
    “The heat is most noticeable near the Arctic, where water temperatures are as much as 10 degrees above average. The tongues of warm water could help melt sea ice from below and even cause thawing of ice sheets on Greenland, said Waleed Abdalati, director of the Earth Science and Observation Center at the University of Colorado.”
    How will warmer ocean water melt the land based ice sheets in Greenland pray tell?

  76. Doesn’t it make sense that SST would be warmer if the atmospheric temperature is lower.
    I reference Newton’s Law of Cooling, “that the rate of heat loss of a body is proportional to the difference in temperatures between the body and its surroundings, or environment.”
    The cooler the “air”, more heat will be lost from a body ( “Ocean Surface”, “Land Surface” )…Wouldn’t this register as higher SSTs

  77. Bob Tisdale (06:00:05) :
    “Anthony, the Borentein article is factually incorrect in places and it raises alarmism to ridiculous levels in others. It’s tough to find that area of the Arctic Ocean that’s10 deg F above average.
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/08/borenstien-sea-surface-temperature.html
    Bob, I am sure it’s a coincidence but the red arrow in your map is pointing at Archangels, the Russian harbor where all the nuclear military ships and submarines are laid to rest. Who knows, something is cooking there.
    Strange anomaly.

  78. Bob Tisdale (06:25:01)
    Not me, Bob.
    I was quoting someone else before commenting on what he said.

  79. I’m sitting on a porch overlooking the harbor in South Bristol, Maine, right now as I write this note. I’m east a bit north of Portland. I’ve been swimming all week in the water here, and here’s my first-hand report.
    It’s cold. About 61-63 degrees, and notably, the heat is in the top 6-12 inches of water. Just below that level, it’s decidedly more frigid, icy cold. So you try to do as much floating as possible, and you don;t stay in the water for more than a minute or two.
    BTW, I know Seth Borenstein. Question — what is his college degtee in – journalism. How many science classes did he take in college — one, intro biology. Don;t expect a lot of critical thinking from Seth.

  80. I can Speak about Ocean City Maryland. Here is the current Ocean temp, August 21, 2009 10:00 AM the Temperature: 79.07° F, recorded at 8th street. I was there two weeks ago and it was in the low 70s. I read the AP article on Yahoo News last night and my BS detector went off. Having lived in the area for 40+ years and have gone to OC MD every year, 88° F would make local news, not a peep.
    http://www.surfassateague.com/
    The Author “SETH BORENSTEIN”, is a warmist. Google his name.

  81. @Adam Grey:
    So what *if* this is the warming SST on record? What does it prove? Yes, the earth warmed during the 20th century, but that fact does not imply any specific cause.
    In other words, just because the climate warmed and *may* still be warming does not imply that AGW has anything to do with it! Where is the evidence it’s not natural causes. Where is the evidence that we have observed is outside the scope of natural variation?

  82. Harold Ambler gave a very useful link to the buoys and I checked those for the UK. I’m still laughing at the one that reckoned a sea temperature of 70F but most were around 63F or so. During a long hot summer SST might be around 68F (after lots of sun) in the winter it might drop to 46F-depending on location.
    At what temperature does the sea surface change from being a net outgasser to a net absorber of co2? Is there a hard and fast rule or ‘does it depend?’
    Presumably the waters round the UK change from one state to the other during an average year whereas the seas surrounding say Mauna Loa are always going to be outgassing.
    Tonyb

  83. Klimate Kip (00:03:57) :

    And then I went to the Rutgers/NOAA link provided by Anthony, and saw that surface water temps off the coast of Maine for Aug 20 were in the 40s and 50s.
    http://www.imcs.rutgers.edu/cool/sat_data/show/?file=../../regions/maine/sst/noaa/2009/img/090820.232.0946.n15.jpg

    My apologies for not checking the links and other stuff, but I’m on vacation….
    One thing about east coast waters, especially north of NJ, is that on shore winds often blow warm water towards shore. In shallow beach areas this can make for some comfortable swimming (comfortable is > 70F (20C) and is not a metric used in the south east!).
    OTOH, off shore winds blow the warm water away and cold water wells up in its place, and even New Englanders decide it’s a nice day for a walk instead.

    The Gulf Stream sheds eddies of warm waters, but I don’t know how they generally track towards shore. Perhaps someone has time to look for a site that studies and tracks them. The eddies are interesting scientifically and for fishing opportunities so they get a fair amount of attention in the right circles.

  84. John Galt – Maybe all those bags of dirty water at 98.6 F have warmed the east coastline? Now that would be anthropogenic warming!

  85. Many thanks to Capn Jack Walker for the information, your explanation was simple, understandable and to the point.
    Cassie K.

  86. Adam Grey (01:08:02) :
    “Hundreds to thousands of media articles cover warm events, very few cover cold events.
    I ran a search to see if that assertion stacked up.”
    One can’t choose exceptional years for the no.- of-hits surveys to determine bias. For example it was a remarkably cool July 2009 over 80% of N. America including frosts in every month this far in Edmonton, Alberta. Similarly when we had snow storms in South Africa, Buenos Aires, Saudi Arabia and frost in Alice Springs, Australia, there were, of course, a lot of news reports. I think one thing that may be starting to happen as the global warming issue is beginning to die is there will be a big up-tick in “cool” stories because, in the propaganda blitz of the past two decades, cool temperatures are now getting to be a story. I’ve noticed a shriller edge to protestations from AGW proponents and of course this has increased as the number of defections increases – including shutting down of one of the major AGW blogs until warming resumes in 30 years!! (real climate was it?).

  87. Leon Brozyna (01:59:56) : This is a good comment because it highlights an under-recognized property of weather and climate that the media, at least, never seems to grasp-or quite possibly willfully ignores-which is that there is a very basic axiom to weather:
    “Something interesting is always happening somewhere with the weather-and it’s only the bad ones that get reported”
    That’s true irrespective of AGW or media bias. They just like to getting ratings/readers and weather disaster is more attention grabbing than pleasant weather that might be going on anywhere but where the cameras “happen” to be. 😉
    With all these factors, it’s no wonder people (wrongly) believe the weather is getting worse (whether they take it as a sign of AGW or of the Second Coming)-it is impossible to NOT get that impression watching the news. The only place you’d get different ideas is the (gasp!) data.

  88. Has anyone asked how much of the data comes from ship measurements?
    I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but the worldwide economy has slowed to the point where shipboard commerce has stagnated. Any measurements from commercial ships (oil tankers, cargo vessels) would probably be skewed toward warmer temperatures because they are spending more time in port (shallower water).

  89. >> Caution! Reader discretion is advised! The content of the following blog entry may cause undefined maladies in persons with little or no understanding of the real world and/or those who see and live in the world as they want it to be, not as it actually – is. Read the disclaimer at the bottom first if you are of that nature or if were alive in the 60’s decade, but do not remember any of it.<>All of the above are solely the opinions and observations of the one who’s handle appears at the top of this entry and only this entry. No names have been changed to protect anyone and neither the moderator nor creator of this blog are responsible for its content, except for any snipping that might occur. Further, the blogger is NOT responsible any negative or positive re-actions that any reader hereof may suffer as a result of same said reading. Should same said reading cause a negative reaction, the reader is hereby advised to seek psychological counsel and stop watching daytime soaps.<<

  90. Opps, forgot how the controls work. here is the entry data –
    Typical of the AP the article is full of sensationalism, errors, obfuscation and non-scientific assumptions or postulations that have been proven wrong years ago.
    Look back a few months, even though NOAA has not –
    The Bermuda High sat over the Gulf or South Central US from March to the 1st part of July forcing fronts to the East – of course the Gulf SST is warmer! The East to West equatorial winds were almost non-existent during this same time with NO tropical storms, both factors greatly reducing the natural near-surface churning – of course the Caribbean and Equatorial Atlantic SST are warmer! Combined – of course the Gulf Stream is significantly warmer! In addition as reviewed here just a few weeks ago the total energy released by cyclones is significantly down and you have El Nino conditions. This is just 4 conditions that that would – of course affect SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES, not ocean temps. A gigantic difference the AP obviously indented to obfuscate.
    Sorry. I know there is no “peer-review” $10 million studies cited in the above. But a lot of us keep a close eye on regional climatic conditions so you have a reasonable idea of what is coming your way 5, 10, 20 days out. If you live close to or on a regular basis have anything to do with the ocean, you better. Like the great seafarers of the past who were NOT inclined to do things just for fun, like taking readings of the waters surface temperature. THAT’S where that record comes from, although I believe the record goes back to the Middle Ages. AND it is very localized (mostly taken in narrow lanes and relatively few) and is, IMHO, worthless as a historical measure of GLOBAL SST.
    And herein lies the only truly great talent remaining at the AP – sensationalism! They have taken the worn-out maxim, “If it bleeds, it leads” to its ninth degree and then SELL it to local papers that blindly publish its dribble. And they wonder why their business model doesn’t work….

  91. Milwaukee Bob (08:34:47) :
    Right!…and if the surface is warmer then it means COOLING…sea water loosing the remnants of its energy…central heating is off…so in the next years…just beware.

  92. Stephen Wilde: “I was quoting someone else before commenting on what he said.”
    Sorry. Didn’t see any quotes. Thought it was yours. Let me redirect it then.
    Philip_B: You wrote, “SST measure the rate at which the oceans release heat to the atmosphere.”
    Wrong. You’d need to include a change in time to measure rate. SST in and of itself is a snapshot of an average temperature for a given month or week or day.
    To use SST in this calculation, you also assume that a change in SST over time reflects only heat released to the atmosphere. Surface waters also subduct and rise back to the surface (overturn) over time scales of days, weeks, months, decades…
    You wrote, “Once the heat is in the atmosphere it is lost to space fairly quickly.”
    The rise in Northern Hemisphere Mid-to-High Latitude TLT anomalies that resulted from the 1997/98 El Nino lasted at least until the El Nino of 2002/03, which bumped them up again, so “fairly quickly” needs to be clarified.

  93. The jet stream meanders up and down the US. There are “tracks” it follows in a general sense, depending on oceanic conditions that send it up or down. Land sensors stay behind while the jet stream moves. Meaning that the sensors are detecting land temperatures out from under the jet stream, or directly in its path. Ocean sensors have much the same issue but are not as tied to one spot as Suzie Q’s sensor in her back yard next to the BBQ. These ocean sensors I believe are anchored and stay within a fairly well defined area, and are thus affected by the movement of currents in and out of their sensor area. I am not impressed by sensationalism regarding ocean temperature changes measured by precious few buoy floats. But more than that, unless GHGs are causing the Sun to rev up, there is ONLY one reason why the area around a sensor in the ocean heats up: weather pattern conditions.
    The weather conditions are causing our Sun’s steady state solar shortwave radiation to beam into a rather calm ocean surface, instead of being reflected back out to space. If the sea is hotter anywhere it is measured, the sky is cloudless and the wind is dead around the sensor. GHG’s have no input.

  94. Hmmm, this must be why the hurricane season got off to such a quick start this year. Thanks Mr. Borenstien. It all makes sense now.

  95. I wanted to send a comment to the Associated Press, but I couldn’t get to first base. When I clicked on info@ap.org, it said the default mail client had not been installed. Actually, their whole web site is 99% how can we tell you something.
    From reading their primer on how to send a message to them, it sounded like they only want you to correct their spelling. No negative feedback appreciated.
    My guess is, I would never hear back from them anyway.
    My bottom line is, I never believe anything they say about science, and I hope that the American populace is coming around to that same conclusion. Let the drop in funding continue until Seth Borenstein doesn’t have a job at the AP.

  96. barry,
    When people talk about a news bias towards “warming” stories, they are usually referring to mainstream media. At least, this is the way I perceive it. I neither know nor care how many cooling vs warming hits appear in Google as most of that is put their by individuals and does not tell us anything about Editorial Bias. Studies have been done by parsing news paper and tv articles (sorry but I can’t think of them specifically) and the conclusion is pretty clear: pro AGW stories outnumber skeptical stories by 3 or 4 to 1.
    Returning to Google, maybe there are more “cooling” stories, and if there are then all that shows is how the individual is fighting back against the ministries of truth. Viva la internet!

  97. I calculated the PERCENTRANK for AMO and Nino 3.4 for July. AMO was ~.90, Nino 3.4 was ~.85
    If these are two of the more varying indicies, then it’s no surprise that Global SST’s are at least at near record temps. Given the reliability issues with the historical data, however, I wouldn’t firmly state “record” or “unprecedented”.

  98. An interesting thought just occurred to me so I thought I would throw it out for others to consider.
    As mentioned above, SST measured by satellite is actually the skin temperature of a very thin layer at the ocean surface. This temperature is effected by several factors, among them total solar intensity on the ocean surface, mixing of the upper layers of the water, and evaporative cooling due to local wind conditions.
    It just occurred to me that I never hear mention of the effect or water clarity on the depth of solar heating of the upper ocean layers. If for example the water is highly turbid, the solar energy will be absorbed in a relatively shallow layer near the oceans surface, and little radiant heating will occur deep in the layer. If mixing is absent or reduced due to low wind conditions (which would also reduce evaporative cooling of the surface), you could have a condition where the temperature profile of the upper layer is skewed. Most heating would occur in a thin layer near the surface.
    In this condition, with more solar heating in the upper layers (increasing SST) but actual heat content of the full 750 meter thick upper layer is reduced. I would think that to properly evaluate the meaning of SST measurements, and what it means, you would have to understand the temperature profile (as gained from the buoy measurements).
    If you did not have the buoy measurements, do the satellites have the ability to indirectly measure the absorption depth where the suns energy is deposited in the ocean water?
    In highly turbid water, all the solar energy could be absorbed in a few mm of water, where in crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, the water would be heated to considerable depth by the same energy input from the sun. The difference in these absorption profiles and the resulting temperature profiles with depth would very significantly influence the significance of an increase of SST.
    Something as simple as an algae bloom could drastically alter this heating to depth profile for days, weeks or longer. Likewise flood runoff of muddy water, or large inputs of wind blown dust would also effect the surface temperature profile with depth due to the resulting changes in transparency of the water.
    Just another consideration regarding SST. Increasing SST does not necessarily mean an increase in upper layer heat energy content, it may only represent a situation that concentrates heating in a smaller volume of water.
    Larry

  99. Well the reason for the Portland warming is obvious; it’s the residual heat from Ted Kennedy’s car engine that he drove off the bridge, that is warming the water; or maybe the heat he dissipated while making his epic swim to summon help.

  100. Just one small detail about SSTs. What is the current measurement technique; isn’t it read from satellites; essentially thermal imaging; optical pyrometry or whatever you want to call it. They couldn’t possibly map those areas to that detail by in the water thermometry.
    So that brings us to the simple fact that because of the extremely high water absorption coefficient of long wave IR radiation, optical pyrometry can only be reading the very surface layer temperature; as in a few microns. That is the water layer that could be warmed by downward thermal radiation from the atmosphere; but also cooled by evaporation.
    I’ve never seen any microclimate data on sea surface temperature versus depth, that would show what goes on in the top few cm of water down to the micron level.
    My WA guess would be that the very surface is somewhat warmer than even 10 cm deep,a nd the top ten microns could be the very hottest temperatures. If it was windy, then evaporative cooling might make the very top a bit cooler due to the evaporative cooling. But as I said it’s a WA guess, since I’ve never seen any peer reviewed datya on such things.
    George

  101. Philip_B (00:26:07) :

    Are we looking at the beginning of a sharp drop in ocean temperatures with the lower levels transfering its stored heat to the surface or will the warm surface waters transfer this heat down to the deeper ocean?

    The former. As is regularly pointed out here, it is physically impossible for the atmosphere to warm the oceans.
    It can slow the rate of cooling.

  102. “”” hotrod (09:33:05) :
    An interesting thought just occurred to me so I thought I would throw it out for others to consider.
    As mentioned above, SST measured by satellite is actually the skin temperature of a very thin layer at the ocean surface. This temperature is effected by several factors, among them total solar intensity on the ocean surface, mixing of the upper layers of the water, and evaporative cooling due to local wind conditions.
    It just occurred to me that I never hear mention of the effect or water clarity on the depth of solar heating of the upper ocean layers. If for example the water is highly turbid, the solar energy will be absorbed in a relatively shallow layer near the oceans surface, and little radiant heating will occur deep in the layer. “””
    Didn’t see your post earlier hotrod. Actually,t he Optical absorption of sea water has been fairly well documented in the past,a dn a lot of data is available in “The Infra-Red Handbook” edited by Wolfe and Zissis.
    It is interesting in that the spectral absorption by sea water is somewhat like the inverse of the solar spectrum. Minimum absorption occurs at around 470 nm, slightly short of the solar peak at 500 nm. The coefficient is listed as about 0.0001 cm^-1. By 300nm and 800nm, the absorption ghas risen to 0.01 cm^-1. Below 180 nm the absorption coefficient is somewhat greater than 10 cm^-1 and in the infra-red at 3.0 microns for example sea water has an absorption coefficient of around 8000 cm^-1, and it is around 1000 cm^-1 from about 2.5 microns out to forever.
    There’s some more detailed data for distilled, fresh water, oceanic water, coastal; even for Chesapeake Bay which is apparently pretty scungy. But oceanic water is not far removed from distilled water, and probably depends mor3e on plankton content.
    If there was a way to post pictures here, I could put the graphs here; I have to photograph them with my digital camera to get them into computerese; and I can post those on some other web sites I prowl around.
    But the long and the short of it is that solar spectrum radiation penetrates deeply into oceanic waters. An absorption coefficent of 0.01 would mean the intensity drops to 1/e (37%) in one metre of depth; and that is at the 800, and 300 nm points; so the most energetic part of the solar spectrum goes much deeper. the bulk of the solar spectrum energy is capable of penetrating beyond ten metres.
    Of course it all is eventually absorbed by something which makes the deep oceans nearly a black body absorber, with just about a 3% Fresnel reflection loss (diffuse) from the surface. The normal reflectance of water is only 2%; but the oblique reflectance climbs to unity,a s the Lambertian flux distribution drops to zero, so you end up with about 3% total reflectance of incident solar energy.
    But that IR absorption of 1000 cm^-1 from about 2.7 to 10 microns means a 1/e penetration of 10 microns, and at 3 microns the 1/e penetration is only 1.25 microns depth. But there isn’t much 3 micron thermal radiation from the atmosphere.
    The water absorption spectrum is key to climate theory, since it clearly demonstrates that the treatment of thermal radiation energy from the atmosphere (including clouds) is a totally different phenomenon from the solar spectrum energy treatment.
    Energy storage in the ocean must be virtually all solar spectrum energy; but SST (satellite) measurments would be expected to strongly represent atmospheric emission of LW IR energy; but that would seem to promote surface evaporation, rather than energy storage.
    So IMHO, SST is a poor metric of oceanic energy storage (“heat”).

  103. This site has had me looking at SST anomalies and I have a question, what could cause a could cause a cold spike in the middle of the equatorial atlantic, I animated the SST anomalies page from the Danish meteorological society web page and saw this spot pop up litterally overnight and fade over 2 days. being a true layman I am asking the smart folks here for tha answer. The link to the site is http://ocean.dmi.dk/satellite/index.uk.php. I ran this for a past 30 day period and the cold spike was around 16N and 45W.
    Your educating me on this is appreciated.

  104. hotrod (09:33:05) :

    It just occurred to me that I never hear mention of the effect or water clarity on the depth of solar heating of the upper ocean layers.

    It’s an active area of research in oceanography. The awareness in the climate community seems to be growing more recently.

    If for example the water is highly turbid, the solar energy will be absorbed in a relatively shallow layer near the oceans surface, and little radiant heating will occur deep in the layer. If mixing is absent or reduced due to low wind conditions (which would also reduce evaporative cooling of the surface), you could have a condition where the temperature profile of the upper layer is skewed. Most heating would occur in a thin layer near the surface.
    In this condition, with more solar heating in the upper layers (increasing SST) but actual heat content of the full 750 meter thick upper layer is reduced.

    The solar energy is nontheless absorbed, so barring other factors you would still have the same heating integrated over 750 m.

    I would think that to properly evaluate the meaning of SST measurements, and what it means, you would have to understand the temperature profile (as gained from the buoy measurements).

    That would be a fair thought.

    If you did not have the buoy measurements, do the satellites have the ability to indirectly measure the absorption depth where the suns energy is deposited in the ocean water?

    There’s work on trying to infer the “state” of the water from satellite measurements, e.g., from the color of the ocean as seen from space. Obviously, this is not an easy proposition.
    Other things you can do include loading expendable probes onto ships of opportunity or using more autonomous instruments (like Argo).

  105. John T: About your anomalous cool spot: I went looking for a website that tracked where Hurricane Bill had been but all I can find is forecasts. That sudden cooling may be an artifact of it.
    Hopefully someone knowledgeable about hurricanes will find your 11:10:02 question.
    A LITTLE HURRICANE HELP HERE, PLEASE!!!
    Let’s try that.

  106. Hmmm…… All this talk of Hurricanes and warm oceans has caused me to ponder:
    a) The Hurricane season so far this year has been a dud.
    b) Hurricanes move a LOT of energy from the ocean to the stratosphere.
    c) Hurricanes mix a lot of hot “skin” water with deeper cooler water.
    d) The Sea Surface Temperature has been a bit high.
    Could A,B, & C be the CAUSE of D?
    Could it just be that SST is an inverse proxy for Hurricane density? And that as hurricanes pick up (if they do) we’ll get back to “normal” SST?
    It would be a cruel irony if a generally warmer climate lead to lots of hurricanes and lower SST, while a cooling world led to fewer hurricanes, so a (temporary?) rise of SST…
    Anyone have a correlation map / chart of SST vs Hurricane energy with a lead / lag on which comes first?…

  107. Perhaps someone in the know will be able to enlighten me on this,
    I thought that, given prior articles on thei site, when the Sun was in it’s minimum phase, lower solar activity allowed more cosmic rays to enter the solar system and thereby the Earths atmosphere. This increase in cosmic rays was supposed to lead to an increase in lower level cloudiness and thereby lower temperatures with less ocean surface warming (mainly due to the increased cloudiness).
    We have been in a deep solar minimum with little to no spot activity for at least the last 42 days and no visible spot activity on the horizon. How does decreased solar activity equate to an increase on ocean surface warming and northern polar ice melt that is currently at third lowest levels. (only 2008 and 2007 had less ice in the arctic.) And Antarctic ice is still lower than 16 or 17 of the last 20 years?

  108. E.M.Smith (12:04:20) :
    > Hmmm…… All this talk of Hurricanes and warm oceans has caused me to ponder:
    > a) The Hurricane season so far this year has been a dud.
    Not so much a dud, September is the peak of the average season.
    > b) Hurricanes move a LOT of energy from the ocean to the stratosphere.
    And a lot a lot poleward. There were some papers about that and polar temperatures being higher in the winter after an active season, IIRC.
    > c) Hurricanes mix a lot of hot “skin” water with deeper cooler water.
    And evaporate a lot of surface water. Hurricanes that stall often weaken as the local SST declines unless they stall over the Gulf Stream.
    > d) The Sea Surface Temperature has been a bit high.
    >Could A,B, & C be the CAUSE of D?
    Klotzbach and Gray use SSTs as one of their key predictors along with ENSO.

  109. Bryan (12:40:49) : It simply doesn’t equate. What equates indeed is that you have been fooled by the dark prophet of doom. Wonder who?…He has not appeared this summer, which is meaningful.

  110. Dennis Sharp (09:13:06) :
    The problem indicated by the “default mail client not installed”, message is at your end.
    In your browser you need to go to Tools–>Internet options–>Programs–>E-mail and select an email client that IS installed on your computer.

  111. Re. Warm water off Maine: this happens every year around this time.
    I used to live at the beach in Southern Maine. The ocean water was almost always too cold to swim. Every summer my wife and I would stroll down the beach watching the tourists from Boston run into the water, scream, and run back out. They always forgot how cold it gets!
    By late August, some tendril of the gulf stream current often moved into the area, and made the water tolerable for more than a few minutes of ankle-deep pain. That has just happened. In fact, we just got back from York Beach in Maine, and it was a great beach day, by Maine standards. I managed to stay in the water for a good half an hour, and there were actually decent waves! Then I sat in my beach chair and shivered for while.
    One of the joys of living in York Beach was watching surfers (in warm rubber wetsuits, of course), braving a blizzard when a Nor’easter storm came up the coast and raised the waves above the usual lake-like placid ripples.
    Alejo

  112. Stephen Wilde: You wrote, “SST measure the rate at which the oceans release heat to the atmosphere.”
    Wrong. You’d need to include a change in time to measure rate. SST in and of itself is a snapshot of an average temperature for a given month or week or day.
    You wrote, “Once the heat is in the atmosphere it is lost to space fairly quickly.”
    The rise in Northern Hemisphere Mid-to-High Latitude TLT anomalies that resulted from the 1997/98 El Nino lasted at least until the El Nino of 2002/03, which bumped them up again, so “fairly quickly” needs to be clarified.

    Bob Tisdale, those quotes are from me not Stephen Wilde.
    You are being overly pedantic re SSTs. Implicitly I was referring to change over time. But then I could have been more precise and said it is the SST versus atmospheric temperature differential over time that determines the rate of oceanic heat loss. Then I could have got into the effect of local wind speed and air humidity.
    However, I was just trying to convey the basic fact that warmer SSTs mean the Earth’s climate is cooling (all else being equal) as this is counter-intuitive for many.
    And on heat lost to space. Once the heat is in the atmosphere, it cannot return to the oceans and therefore can only be lost to space at some point. I was being deliberately vague in saying ‘fairly quickly’ because I don’t know how long it takes. But then nobody else knows based on a physical model.
    The SOI atmospheric temperatures correlation implies about 3 to 6 months. I think most people would consider 3 to 6 months in the range of fairly quickly.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/el-nino-southern-oscillation.htm
    Whether the heat is retained for 6 months or some other period is not relevant to the point I was making. My point was that increased SSTs and increased ocean heat release cannot result in increased atmospheric temperatures over IPCC timescales (one or more centuries) and will (all else being equal) result in lower atmospheric temperatures over this timescale.
    regards

  113. It just occurred to me that I never hear mention of the effect or water clarity on the depth of solar heating of the upper ocean layers. If for example the water is highly turbid, the solar energy will be absorbed in a relatively shallow layer near the oceans surface, and little radiant heating will occur deep in the layer.
    You are correct.
    However, most tropical and subtropical oceans are clear and most solar heating of the oceans occurs in these regions. So turbidity has a limited effect on solar heating of the oceans on a global basis. Although turbidity may have a significant local effect. I am thinking of things like monsoon runoff in the Bay of Bengal. I recall seeing satellite images of silt plumes stretching hundreds of kilometers from the coast.

  114. How does decreased solar activity equate to an increase on ocean surface warming and northern polar ice melt that is currently at third lowest levels. (only 2008 and 2007 had less ice in the arctic.) And Antarctic ice is still lower than 16 or 17 of the last 20 years?
    Bryan,
    We don’t know what relationship there is between changes in the amount of solar radiation entering the ocean and SST. However, we know that SSTs in areas that have been studied like the central pacific are primarily determined by winds and ocean currents. It is likely small changes in solar radiation (insolation) have no significant effect on SST over a few years.
    Arctic sea ice has increased rapidly during the current solar minimum. At the fastest rate on (the satellite) record.
    You have your facts wrong about Antarctic Sea Ice. It has increased significantly during the current solar minimum and in fact reached a record high.
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.anom.south.jpg
    BTW the 16 or 17 out of 20 years claim came from cherry picking a single day out of 20 years of data.
    And if you were referring to the Antarctic icecaps. We have no idea whether they have increased or decreased over the current solar minimum. But then changes in solar radiation (more precisely solar insolation) would have no measurable effect on the Antarctic icecap over such a short timescale.
    Which makes me thing you are merely repeating talking points you don’t understand.

  115. Just a thought………long wave (heat) radiation atmospheric absorption makes it impossible for earth based telescopes to study this form of energy coming from outer space,so how do satellites measure SST’s through our atmosphere?

  116. The place to get an estimate of warming bias in the MSM would be to look at the citations on the topic in the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature. I’m sure it would turn out to be about 94% warmist, 1% heretical, and 5% non-committal (warming not characterized specifically as man-made).
    ===========
    Who is Really Making Up the Facts
    By Joseph D’Aleo
    In a Time/CNN story by Michael Grunwald “Steven Chu, A Political Scientist” on Chu’s mission to China, attempting to convince them to cooperate on emissions reductions in the December Copenhagen UN conference to discuss the next step after Kyoto (the Chinese are laughing all the way to the bank because they know our pain would be their gain).
    Grunwald noted “When I asked Chu about the earth-is-cooling argument, he rolled his eyes and whipped out a chart showing that the 10 hottest years on record have all been in the past 12 years and that 1998 was the hottest. He mocked the skeptics who focus on that post-1998 blip while ignoring a century-long trend of rising temperatures: “See? It’s gone down! The earth must be cooling!” But then he got serious, almost plaintive: “You know, it’s totally irresponsible. You’re not supposed to make up the facts.””

    This is how the warmists “carry the day” with the media. They are able to baffle them with rebuttals like these that the media take at face value. What our side needs are:
    1. A semi-official PR central (or perhaps a half-dozen separate contacts) for the media to call for counter-counterpoints (Morano?);
    2. A counterpoint wiki, as suggested by Lucy Skywalker. This might cost $100,000 to put together professionally. (C’mon Exxon, cough it up!)

  117. Maybe there is a connection between this spike in SST and the lack of tropical cyclones in the months leading up to July. Tropical cyclones move heat from the ocean’s surface up to the base of the stratosphere through convection, thereby cooling the waters that they pass over. Tropical cyclones also increase mixing of cooler water from below with the warm surface water. These effects are significant – a tropical cyclone that moves very slowly or comes to a stop will weaken after a day or two, and a tropical cyclone that crosses the path of another recent tropical cyclone will usually show a drop (or leveling off) in intensity as it does so. It seems reasonable that a decrease in tropical cyclone activity would cause heat to build up on the surface of the tropical oceans. Large-scale ocean currents would spread this heat around, so the warm anomaly would not just be restricted to the tropics. Now that the tropical cyclone activity has picked up a little, it seems that the SST anomaly has come down pretty quickly. Obviously this is a simplistic way of looking at it and there are other factors at work, but this may be a significant part of it.

  118. The discrepancy is probably entirely due to the fact that the weather in the US in July 2009 was (drum roll) – cold!

    Then reporting is consonant with the weather. Where’s the bias?
    Answering other replies…
    Of course you’ll get more hits with warm than cool, hot than cold if you google under climate. There’s nothing surprising – or biased – about that.
    If there are 3 or 4 to 1 stories supportive of the mainstream view over the ‘skeptical’ view, then that ratio is much smaller than the ratio of scientific views on the matter. There are people who don’t think HIV leads to AIDS – qualified medical people, too. Why should the handful of nae-sayers get equal air time? Or the scientists who don’t believe in plate tectonics?
    I think the climate ‘skeptics’ get a lot of air time considering the number of qualified people who propagate such views. Look at Ian Plimer, who makes extraordinary errors (volcanoes emit more CO2 in a year than industry, for example). He’s had a very high profile press run in the antipodes and has made it into the British and US press – despite not being a climatologist. The only national paper in Australia, The Australian tends to publish more from the ‘skeptical’ side. I see nothing to complain about.
    Except that the media is not the place to get unsullied information. Bad journalism on climate change? Fish in a barrel, whatever your stripe.

  119. Michael Sager (21:15:01),
    Interesting point you make about cyclones and SST’s. It brings up the point of how much mixing and how deep is the mixing when a cyclone passes over water?. Perhaps a cyclone over the Tao-Triton buoys would give valuable information.
    A cyclone over the El-Nino hot region might be needed,in fact do cyclones occur on the equator at 85-105 degrees west?

  120. Keith,
    There is typhoons project currently underway in the Western Pacific doing exactly what you are interested in, buoys, SSTs and all.
    Cyclones don’t tend to occur directly ON the equator due to the diminishing Coriolis force (f -> 0 with latitude).

  121. Re: Philip_B (18:28:11) :
    Perhaps we’re speaking apples and oranges.
    The chart I was refering to was this one
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.area.south.jpg
    My statement about Antarctic Ice being lower than in 16 of the last 20 years is confirmed by this chart.
    It clearly shows current ice extent (though admittedly not at southern winter maximum levels yet) is currently only greater than the maximums of 2008, 2002, 1992, and 1987. All other years between 1987 and current had more ice coverage than today.
    Re: Nogw (14:30:38) :
    If you are saying that decreased solar activity like we are seeing doesn’t equate with warmer temperatures you are likely right. However:
    We do have a deep solar minimum occuring with little to no spot activity occuring.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/08/21/soho-back-up-and-running-didnt-miss-anything-sun-still-blank/#more-10138
    Current Antarctic Ice extent (though not at maximum but close) is at 4th lowest point of the last 21 years (subject to change when maximum has been realized)
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.area.south.jpg
    Current Arctic Ice is at third lowest level per this sites dataset
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.area.jpg
    So while one as you state
    Re: Nogow (14:30:38)
    Bryan (12:40:49) : “It simply doesn’t equate.”
    It still is fact that we are:
    in a deep solar minimum
    Experiencing 3rd lowest arctic ice levels since prior to 1978
    &
    Experiencing potential 4th lowest maximum Antarctic Ice coverage levels in 21 years

  122. This is silly-

    The latest summary NCDC offers ( which AP referenced: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/?reportglobal&year2009&month7 ) is for July 2009 where they say this:
    The global ocean surface temperature for July 2009 was the warmest on record, 0.59°C (1.06°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F). This broke the previous July record set in 1998. The July ocean surface temperature departure from the long-term average equals June 2009 value, which was also a record.
    So that makes me wonder, did NCDC give Seth Borenstein some inside information for the middle of August that the rest of us aren’t privy to? Or, could it be a misprint or C to F conversion error?
    I simply don’t know, but I do find it odd that I can’t find a NOAA or NCDC press release or data table that has that 62.6 degrees mentioned in it. If anyone knows where that figure came from, please post it in comments. Google is saturated with so many news stories with the keyword combination of NCDC and 62.6 that I’m unable to locate the original source. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but if it does, I’m sure our WUWT readers will find it.

    Well, a 1.06 degree F increase added to a 61.5 degree F average does equal 62.6 degrees F, when rounded down to one decimal place.
    What’s your point?
    You’re questioning the rounding?

  123. Philip_B: You wrote, “And on heat lost to space. Once the heat is in the atmosphere, it cannot return to the oceans…”
    It can’t? I suggest you watch the following video:

    Watch the tropical Pacific for the formation of the 1997/98 El Nino, then watch the SST anomalies of the Atlantic rise. The heat released by the El Nino warms the troposphere, which in turn, warms the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. With the increase in SST anomaly in the Atlantic comes an increase in OHC. The surface is part of the ocean, is it not?
    You wrote, “You are being overly pedantic re SSTs. Implicitly I was referring to change over time.”
    You may have thought you implied it, but you obviously had not.
    Regards

  124. The remarks were:
    —————
    Bob Tisdale (14:39:52) :
    Philip_B: You wrote, “And on heat lost to space. Once the heat is in the atmosphere, it cannot return to the oceans…”
    It can’t? I suggest you watch the following video:

    Watch the tropical Pacific for the formation of the 1997/98 El Nino, then watch the SST anomalies of the Atlantic rise. The heat released by the El Nino warms the troposphere, which in turn, warms the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. With the increase in SST anomaly in the Atlantic comes an increase in OHC. The surface is part of the ocean, is it not?
    —————
    .
    I beg to differ in that matter of the atmosphere being able to impart heat energy BACK into a body of water, when the body of water is at least as warm as the atmosphere, AND is radiating heat into said atmosphere.
    .
    Since neither the atmosphere nor the oceans are able to ‘store’ heat energy, inasmuch as such a thing is an impossibility without first converting the heat energy into something else, then the ability of one source to affect another source is directly dependent upon which body is the lesser active heat-wise.
    .
    On a very cold day, with the temps below freezing, one may see the moisture in one’s expelled breath, merely that the atmosphere is denser and therefore the moisture is not so readily absorbed as it would on a very much warmer day.
    .
    That very same principle applies with atmosphere over water: As the water becomes closer in temperature to the atmosphere, the water vapor become thinker above the water, and as a result of that the atmosphere becomes the recipient of the heat energy, and NOT the water.
    .
    And one other thing: Neither the atmosphere nor the oceans generate heat, or cause heat ‘regeneration’ or ‘amplification,’ as without the Sun, there would be no heat at all, other than the geothermal.
    .
    The whole is system is a net loss engine. Once energy has been expended, it is such: Expended. It CANNOT be ‘recycled.’

  125. Leland Palmer – you’re the guy who keeps moaning and groaning that the end of the world is nigh. I cant find the blog where I gave you some friendly advice

  126. Highlander: You began your comment with, “I beg to differ in that matter of the atmosphere being able to impart heat energy BACK into a body of water, when the body of water is at least as warm as the atmosphere, AND is radiating heat into said atmosphere.”
    Excuse my use of the word heat and the other descriptive errors. I’ll rewrite what I wrote as:
    ########
    Philip_B: You wrote, “And on heat lost to space. Once the heat is in the atmosphere, it cannot return to the oceans…”
    An El Nino event shifts coupled-ocean atmosphere processes. These result in rises in SST anomalies elsewhere. I suggest you watch the following video:

    Watch the tropical Pacific for the formation of the 1997/98 El Nino, then watch the SST anomalies of the Atlantic rise. The 1997/98 El Nino transferred warm subsurface water from the Pacific Warm Pool to the surface of the Eastern and Central Tropical Pacific, changing convection patterns there. It also shifted “normal” coupled-ocean atmosphere processes. As these shifts in coupled-ocean atmosphere processes travelled east, they raised the surface temperature of the Atlantic Ocean (and the TLT anomalies of the same area).
    http://i29.tinypic.com/nwgg2v.png
    The 1997/98 El Nino also caused an upward step change in tropical Atlantic SST Anomalies.
    http://i31.tinypic.com/2whmr60.png
    The increase in SST anomaly in the Atlantic implies an increase in Ocean Heat Content, at least of the surface component. The OHC of the tropical Pacific may decrease during an El Nino, but the El Nino has resulted in an increase in heat content elsewhere.

  127. Philip_B: You wrote, “Whether the heat is retained for 6 months or some other period is not relevant to the point I was making. My point was that increased SSTs and increased ocean heat release cannot result in increased atmospheric temperatures over IPCC timescales (one or more centuries) and will (all else being equal) result in lower atmospheric temperatures over this timescale.”
    Sorry for the delay, but there seems to be a run on SST posts here at WUWT, a few of which are mine. I’ve spent most of my time over the past day on those. Back to the closing paragraph of your comment…
    I’ve illustrated in a number of posts here and at my blog that significant El Nino events, particularly the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Nino events, resulted in upward step changes in mid-to-high latitude Northern Hemisphere TLT anomalies and in SST anomalies of 25 to 30% of the global oceans.
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/06/rss-msu-tlt-time-latitude-plots.html
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/01/can-el-nino-events-explain-all-of.html
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/01/can-el-nino-events-explain-all-of_11.html
    Those step changes lasted for close to a decade. In actuality, there are decays in both of those TLT and SST anomaly subsets, which appear to take in the neighborhood of 4 to 5 years. However, the lesser El Nino events that followed the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Ninos (that may be aftereffects of those significant events) raised the SST and TLT anomalies again and give the impression of decade-long step changes.
    It doesn’t take that many significant El Nino events and decade-long shifts to cause the increases in SST and LST from 1910 to 1944 and from 1976 to present. One of these days, I’ll have to go look at the El Nino events and the East Indian and West Pacific SST anomalies during early 20th century, to see if those step changes existed during that period.
    But what I can show you is that a scaled running total of NINO3.4 SST anomalies can reproduce the basic global temperature anomaly curve. This implies that the global oceans integrate the effects of ENSO events and that LST follow SST.
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/01/reproducing-global-temperature.html

  128. About That Warm Ocean…
    climate by seablogger
    There has been a lot of publicity about a warm spell that has affected oceans of the northern hemisphere this summer. Rare reader Ron sent me the text of this much remarked AP article:
    By SETH BORENSTEIN (AP) – 2 days ago
    WASHINGTON — The world’s oceans this summer are the warmest on record.
    The National Climatic Data Center, the government agency that keeps weather records, says the average global ocean temperature in July was 62.6 degrees. That’s the hottest since record-keeping began in 1880. The previous record was set in 1998.
    Meteorologists blame a combination of a natural El Nino weather pattern on top of worsening manmade global warming. The warmer water could add to the melting of sea ice and possibly strengthen some hurricanes.
    The result has meant lots of swimming at beaches in Maine with pleasant 72-degree water. Ocean temperatures reached 88 degrees as far north as Ocean City, Md., this week.
    The Gulf of Mexico, where warm water fuels hurricanes, has temperatures dancing around 90. Most of the water in the Northern Hemisphere has been considerably warmer than normal. The Mediterranean is about three degrees warmer than normal. Higher temperatures rule in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
    It’s most noticeable near the Arctic, where water temperatures are as much as 10 degrees above average.
    Breaking heat records in water is more ominous as a sign of global warming than breaking temperature marks on land. That’s because water takes longer to heat up and doesn’t cool off as easily, said climate scientist Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria in British Columbia.
    “This is another yet really important indicator of the change that’s occurring,” Weaver said.
    Let’s unpack this article and examine the embedded deceits. First let’s consider the 1880 claim. There was no NCDC in 1880 — no organization to gather and standardize data. The date is arbitrary. About that time ship records became sufficiently numerous that a rough, guesswork chart can be reconstructed. There is no reasonable way to compare the records of that time with the global satellite data we receive today.
    US records for all-time high atmospheric temperature were almost all set in the Nineteen Thirties. It would be interesting if we had a satellite data bank of ocean temperatures from those years. But we don’t. Properly speaking, our period of record is only thirty years, not a hundred thirty.
    It is true that an unseasonal summer El Nino has developed in the Pacific this year. At the same time other extensive warm anomalies have been noted in the northern hemisphere. The Arctic ones are suspect, owing to the unreliable data coming from a broken polar-orbiting satellite. The mid-latitude anomalies are real. But the AP author conveniently omits mention of the continuing cold anomalies at higher latitudes in the southern hemisphere, which has been more radically decoupled from the northern hemisphere than at any other time in the satellite record.
    You can bet that any violent landfalling hurricanes would have been incorporated into the article too. The author overlooks data indicating the tropics worldwide are experiencing less cyclone energy release than at any time since a previous dip in the Seventies. In fact it could be that the deficit of tropical storms has contributed to a surplus of warmth.
    I was astonished by the claim of 88 degree ocean temperature in Maryland, so I looked up the site at the National Data Buoy Center. The location is an ocean inlet, subject to tide. When the tide goes out, sun-heated bay water passes the sensor. It did spike to 88 a few days ago on an outbound tide in hot weather. But the true ocean temperature is 78, and this is reflected in cooler readings on the inbound tide. The spike datum has been used in deceptively the article. This is so typical.
    Holes of coolness are already appearing in the El Nino. I suspect it will fade before the end of the year. But that will not matter to the AP author, whose agenda is Save Copenhagen! The next round of climate talks is scheduled for December, and it is absolutely necessary, if you are a believer, to keep the agenda on track. The US must pass cap-and-trade. Then it will be better positioned to argue other nations into similar nonsense.
    Meanwhile the sun continues spotless. The real driver of Earth’s climate hints at the next ice age. To cripple our civilization for a flutter in sea surface temperatures would be the grandest folly in human history.
    From http://www.seablogger.com

  129. New England SSTs look fairly typical for July. Cape Cod has Horseshoe Crabs, a definite warm water creature. It’s been that way for years and years.

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