AMSRE Global SST down – near zero – trend since 2002 also down

While we have one blog post that shows OHC disappearing due to an adjustment by KNMI, Ocean Heat Content: cooling gone today with new adjustment, global sea surface temperatures are telling another story. That story is that our trend is down since 2002. You wouldn’t know it though to look at this NOAA chart.

Click for a larger image

Dr. Roy Spencer provides an update.

Global Average SST Update to October 14

Since the global average sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies (departures from average) hit a peak a couple of months ago, I thought it would be a good time to see how they are progressing. Here’s a plot of running 11-day SST anomalies for the global oceans (60N to 60S latitude):

AMSR-E-SST-thru-10-14-09

As can be seen, at least for the time being, temperatures have returned to the long-term average. Of course, this says nothing about what will happen in the future. I have also plotted the linear trend line, which is for entertainment purposes only.

The SSTs come from the AMSR-E instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite, and are computed and archived at Remote Sensing Systems (Frank Wentz). I believe them to be the most precise record of subtle SST changes available, albeit only since mid-2002.

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62 thoughts on “AMSRE Global SST down – near zero – trend since 2002 also down

  1. I view trend lines as an intersecting teeter totter that moves along the fulcrum gently playing a game of teeter totter. Occasionally you get the sharp rise that when it stops, makes your hiney jump off the end of your seat and a delighted squeal escape your lips. Then there is the occasional slam on the ground that makes you wince and giggle. Weather is such fun!

  2. I am entertained AND encouraged: NASA’s data fits the real world, and is in line with the temp. of the air coming off the Pacific.
    As always, NASA builds the very best, sat-el-lites.

  3. Thanks for the data Roy. If Svensmark is right, that trend line will become long enough to be meaningful. My take is that he is right. I’m interested in your view on ocean heat content. Could it have taken 50 years to reflect all of the effect of a doubling of solar cycle intensity? That is if we assume that the galactic cosmic ray theory is true.

  4. Does a computed trend line running from +/- five one hundredths of a degree C, regardless of direction, say anything other than that average SST seems remarkably stable?

  5. Mark Baker (22:01:39) :
    What happened in 2007 to cause that huge downturn?
    Mark, are you forgetting that a large amount of ice was blown out of the Arctic to melt in the North Atlantic? Probably took a year for this large extraction of heat from the Atlantic to flow through into the general SST averages?

  6. David in Davis (22:23:24) :
    Does a computed trend line running from +/- five one hundredths of a degree C, regardless of direction, say anything other than that average SST seems remarkably stable?
    ———————-
    I was wondering the same thing myself. Remarkably stable best describes the geologically observed climate of the Earth. One is left to wonder, though, about the effects that galactic anomalies can have. Of course, passing through another solar system would most likely be catastrophic, but what about passing through a water cloud? Do water clouds exist in space?
    I know they would be ice, but particulate ice would become water entering the Earth’s atmosphere, which, btw, could explain warming trends also. H20 IS a greenhouse gas, after all….

  7. Interesting would be the ARGO-data. I know that they are on the ARGO-website, but we need someone with lot’s of time and the relevant knowledge to consolidate them and make a chart…

  8. Doug Jones (22:41:26) :
    Ice flows out of Arctic, leaves big gap, alarmists jump up & down.
    Ice reforms in Arctic, sea below arctic warms, alamists jump & down.
    Temp returns to normal in oceans, skeptics find out satellite sensors keep going down. Why aren’t alamists jumping up & down over 1 failed satellite after another?
    Nobody is happy this isn’t 1912 where a speeding ocean liner hits an iceberg that blew out of Arctic and caused great loss of life.

  9. the flat or slightly decreaing trend appears to confirm the flat or slightly decreasing trend of ocean heat content since 2003.
    however no spike in 2003, obviously the spike in ocean heat content is just an error and you would expect it to be corrected soon, as everybody who can read a chart may discover it.

  10. Re: Pamela Gray (20:56:30) : And the teeter totter
    “Then there is the occasional slam on the ground that makes you wince and giggle. Weather is such fun!”
    As you may recall from your youth, while the girls were wincing and giggling, the boys were using that teeter totter to launch dirt-bombs at one another.
    Some things never change, do they?

  11. Mark Baker (22:01:39) :
    What happened in 2007 to cause that huge downturn?

    Strong La Nina phenomenon, followed by drop in global temperatures with few months lag.

  12. Since some time, I am following ocean anomalies rather than air temperature anomalies. If you look at it, air temp follows the ocean temps with some lag. Cold Atlantic anomalies around Europe (=neutral to slightly negative AMO) this winter caused freezing winter in Western Europe. After relatively warm AMO, it heads down again, just in time for winter. Negative PDO horseshoe returns back after slowdown and El Nino looks dying.
    Our top national climatologist media attention wh*re told in August, that SST finally “stabilized” from that embarrassing decadal drop and will rise again.
    Oops, not.

  13. gtrip (00:32:52) :
    Why are all trends always reduced to a straight line? Seems kind of silly to me.

    Because with a straight line it always goes off the chart, one way or the other, and that makes a good Grimm-style fairytale to tell the kids…
    (Note in this entry the trend line is specifically mentioned as “for entertainment purposes only”, shame they can’t add that as a standard disclaimer on all IPCC reports.)
    Cheers
    Mark

  14. If the article about Copenhagen is to be believed, then all this argument about climate is just a red herring, a diversion, a false flag, call it what you will.
    Once that treaty is signed and ratified, what politician will care about climate arguments.
    The point of that treaty is as follows:
    i. Unaccountable WORLD Government.
    ii. Financial punishments as a substitute for development aid (the Africans will sing any song you like if you pay them aid).
    iii. Global implementation mechanisms, presumably without democratic accountability.
    It’s a treaty remarkably in China and to a lesser extent, India’s interest.
    China has an enormous budget surplus, now holds sway in large swathes of the mineral rich parts of Africa, but will be RECEIVING payments from a bankrupt Europe and to a lesser extent, a bankrupt USA.
    What’s important about 0.5 degree oscillation here or there once THAT legislation has been passed, eh??
    Nothing is the answer to that.
    And for all the politicos who will travel the world to implement it?
    Who cares about their carbon footprint?
    They certainly won’t I’ll tell you that for sure.

  15. “temperatures have returned to the long-term average”. Is this the longest we have – 2002 to date?

  16. rbateman (23:24:57)Nobody is happy this isn’t 1912 where a speeding ocean liner hits an iceberg that blew out of Arctic and caused great loss of life.
    The iceberg that sank the Titanic was never in the Arctic Ocean. It calved from a glacier in West Greenland which is where most icebergs in the North Atlantic emanate.

  17. I am not convinced by drawing or inferring trends over relatively short time periods, remember that’s what gave us the political scare stories over global cooling and, now, global warming.
    Climate variables are just that – variable. Together they create a complexity that is currently beyond human powers to predict. All we can say with any certainty is that we are probably coming to the end of another inter-glacial period, be it over the next 1000 years or so.

  18. Doug Jones (22:41:26) : Mark, are you forgetting that a large amount of ice was blown out of the Arctic to melt in the North Atlantic? Probably took a year for this large extraction of heat from the Atlantic to flow through into the general SST averages?
    Gosh, I think you are right. It took me a while to notice the “(60N to 60S latitude)” on the graph description. Leaving out the 0-30 degrees at each pole will mean that any ‘slopping back and forth’ from the polar regions will show up as a “global” change of the average that isn’t.
    So when this graph goes low, we’re melting arctic ice, and when it goes high, we’re making lots of arctic ice…

  19. @ Pamela Gray:
    I have also plotted the linear trend line, which is for entertainment purposes only…
    try to understand, ok?

  20. Could someone explain this in relation to what made news yesterday.
    — Globe simmered in September —
    —> http://tr.im/BZbs
    I am hard pressed to explain which temperature record is relevant. You look at the trend of satellite records and they are up,flat,down trend depending on the altitude of the record, you have the ground stations record (with or without cherry picking, with or without “contamination”) going all over the place trend wise. And now, here we talk about the surface ocean temperature being the most “accurate” to “show a trend”.
    Is there a good resume somewhere to get started on all those different data sets, what they mean, how good or bad they are?
    Thanks, Simon

  21. “global sea surface temperatures are telling another story. That story is that our trend is down since 2002. You wouldn’t know it though to look at this NOAA chart”
    Err, maybe because the chart you showed wasn’t global, try this one instead http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2009/anomnight.10.15.2009.gif
    Notice how the cherry picking missed out the cold SST anomolies, or was it a genuine mistake, the kind of mistake you are so quick to damn on this site.
    I haven’t seen such sloppy reporting as this since the Daily Mail blunder (US records V global).

  22. I have tracked the particular SST events that lead to global cooling. Ocean up welling from the deep colder ocean currents in the Southern Hemisphere and associated cooling of the Southern Hemisphere SST were the earliest signs . [ SEE Professor GRAY’s papers ] Global temperature anomalies could be still rising while this is happening initially. Eventually the Northern Hemisphere SST anomalies will also start to decline The Southern Hemisphere SST has been declining now for three months in a row. If this continues for another 6 months or so watch for most of the other ocean SST’s anomalies to decline as well and to start to go cooler. We got a brief snapshot of this in September. AMO, AMO, and NAO will all to go cool on an annual basis and a drop in global temperatures will be clearly evident as a LA NINA replaces the current weak El Nino that is struggling to start. I see a possibilty of this happening in 2010.

  23. Weather Observation 7:43 am, Friday, October 16:
    Northeastern Massachusetts, 4 miles from coast at 85′ elevation
    Light Snow – no accumulation on paved surfaces
    Climate Observation: Who knows?

  24. The apparently opposite trends of OHC and SST anomaly are still confusing for me.
    OHC is the amount of heat stored or present in the oceans above the thermocline which in most places is hundreds of meters deep.
    SST is the temperature of the ocean at the surface.
    In a stable climate OHC and SSTs will move in opposite directions. Increasing SSTs means more heat lost from the oceans and declining OHC. And increasing OHC for decreasing SSTs

  25. Isn’t the problem of the NOAA chart the reference period for the anomaly?
    Roy Spencer uses the term ‘return to the long term average’ but surely he is meaning the average of the Aqua period instrumentation from 2002. NOAA will be using the long term mean over several decades – as does Hadley (1961-1990). If you do that you get 3 C anomalies for the current decade – especially in northern oceans in the Hadley set because the base period includes the trough of 1960-1975 and excludes the Arctic peak of 1930-1940 which was also general in the northern hemisphere.
    There is value in the graphic from 2002 – it shows that ‘global warming’ as driven by GHGs is not powerful enough to over-ride the natural variability (cycles) – and the reverse may be happening (which I think is the case – having concluded from the satellite data on radiation flux to the ocean surface that at least 80% of the ocean warming can be put down to thinning clouds from 1980-2000 (it is still an open question among open scientific minds – for example, Takmeng Wong at NASA – and I recommend:
    http://eospo.gsfc.nasa.gov/eos_observ/pdf/Jan_Feb08.pdf
    for a discussion of whether thinning cloud is a consequence of the GHG warming or cause of the ocean warming that has been mistaken for the GHG fingerprint
    In my mind, the current cooling or flatline, points toward the latter. But GHG advocates can point out that the decade 2000-2009 is still warmer than the decade 1990-1999, and that was warmer than 1980-1989
    we really need a better handle on the recovery from the Little Ice Age – long term trends and the long cycle of 800/400 years on top of which these shorter cycles of the PDO/AMO/AO and ENSO are peaking.

  26. @ DaveF (04:26:30) :
    Anybody care to educate this baffled Brit as to what a “teeter-totter” is, please?
    A plank on a fulcrum with a kid (child not goat) on each end. What do our former colonizers (colonisers?) call it?

  27. DaveF (04:26:30) :
    Anybody care to educate this baffled Brit as to what a “teeter-totter” is, please?

    Also known as a ‘see-saw’, basically a board pivoting on a beam (usually a pipe), with places to sit on each end. Common in children’s playgrounds.
    /Mr Lynn

  28. The current West to East equatorial trade winds need to turn around and head East to West for La Nina to return. The wind velocity we have now is barely discernible using the little arrows. There are occasional westerly wind bursts near the western side (Indonesia) of the Pacific that keeps this El Nino alive. I am waiting for the wind to blow the other way. As soon as that begins to happen, I will predict a La Nina.

  29. David, You probably call a teeter-totter a see-saw. May be other names for this childhood playground item.

  30. You might know a teeter totter by the name “sea saw”. It is a long board just wide enough to set on both ends that has been balanced on a raised structure at the middle fulcrum point. Then you sea saw or teeter totter up and down. When one end goes down, the other end goes up, along with you. Then you go down and the other child goes up.

  31. Federal Agency Honesty in Forecasting Award:
    (from the Staten Island Real-Time News)
    http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/10/national_weather_service_predi.html
    “National Weather Service Predicts That Winter Weather Will Be Unpredictable”
    WASHINGTON — The National Weather Service’s prediction for winter weather in the Northeast is that it can’t easily be predicted.
    The federal agency is forecasting equal chances for above-, near- or below-normal temperatures and precipitation, which differs from AccuWeather’s prediction yesterday of a snowy and cold winter here.
    Meanwhile in Pennsylvania (from the Philadelphia Inquirer):
    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20091016_Earliest_snow_on_record_blankets_Poconos__Penn_State.html
    (I know, I know, weather is only climate when the temperature is going UP.)

  32. I’m hearing arguments that ocean warming has turned deep; that surface measures are no longer applicable.
    I’m skeptical since there is no recent sea level rise. Guessing it’s yet another global warming oh wait climate change oh wait air temp oh wait ocean temp oh wait deep ocean temp change because the facts keep not supporting their beliefs.
    Anyway, anyone have any hard data on deep ocean non-warming?

  33. I can’t help but say this Nino’s toast by mid-winter or earlier.Nina’s cold,icy fingers around his neck…

  34. Doug Jones and Mark Baker: Mark you asked, “What happened in 2007 to cause that huge downturn?” and Doug replied, “Mark, are you forgetting that a large amount of ice was blown out of the Arctic to melt in the North Atlantic? Probably took a year for this large extraction of heat from the Atlantic to flow through into the general SST averages?”
    The reason for the drop in 2007 is the significant 2007/08 La Nina, as note above by Juraj V:
    http://i37.tinypic.com/5vwqhd.png
    Also as M White replied, Dr Spencer noted a significant increase in cloud cover in 2007.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/09/26/the-2007-2008-global-cooling-event-evidence-for-clouds-as-the-cause/
    Seeming to contradict this, a La Nina causes a decrease in cloud cover over the tropical Pacific, which is what recharges the ocean heat content there for the next El Nino (the minor El Nino we’re experiencing now), but the tropical Pacific is not the globe, so the global drop in cloud cover and the La Nina combined to drop the global SST anomalies.
    With respect to your ice melting theory, Doug, the Arctic SST anomalies do not show it.
    http://i33.tinypic.com/11kw3s7.png
    A decrease in ice cover yields more solar input to the ocean, which raises SST anomalies, which melts more ice…
    The SST anomalies of the North Atlantic also don’t agree with your theory:
    http://i33.tinypic.com/2ibz5fa.png
    Regards

  35. I recently came across an interesting report by the USGS, which looks at cosmic rays, solar wind, ocean heat transport, and climate.
    Solar Activity and Regional Streamflow:
    Kansas District, U.S. Geological Survey
    AUTHOR: Charles A. Perry, Research Hydrologist
    Variations of Solar Activity Affect Regional Hydro-climate
    http://ks.water.usgs.gov/waterdata/climate/
    This research focuses on the hypothesis that variations in solar activity affect regional streamflow. Variations in solar activity may control the amount of energy that reaches the Earth’s surface. These variations in solar energy may help create ocean temperature anomalies that can persist for years and move with the ocean currents. The ocean temperature anomalies can have an effect on meteorological factors such as atmospheric vorticity and moisture, both important for precipitation formation. Varying amounts of precipitation controls the regional hydrology including streamflow, groundwater, and lake levels.

  36. ‘Also known as a ’see-saw’, basically a board pivoting on a beam (usually a pipe), with places to sit on each end. Common in children’s playgrounds’
    Got it. See saw does it nicely.
    Now ‘hiney’?
    Actually, I know (blush).
    It’s what Pamela puts on her teeter totter…

  37. Please take a time to observe the above NOAA chart in detail, take then into account that in spite of this agency tendency to depict temperature anomalies in very intense orange and red colors, this time show not only blue but BLACK color, right in the equator line (the sea in front of Ecuador country, east pacific coast, Nino 1+2 area) , and that is a -5 degrees centigrade anomaly!
    Don´t forget these are the early signs of the new minimum (Landsheidt, Jose or Eddy´s)

  38. Mr.Lynn, Pamela Gray, David in Davis, jlc:
    Thanks, folks – a see-saw!! S’pose I should have figured that out for myself, but I didn’t!

  39. Adolfo Giurfa (09:24:36) :
    …and that is a -5 degrees centigrade anomaly!

    Part of it is Galapagy islands, but there is really black spot! Ouch!

  40. Adolfo, NOAA and Unisys show almost the same thing in that spot, so there is something there that the two charts mostly agree on.

  41. Peter Taylor,
    “we really need a better handle on the recovery from the Little Ice Age – long term trends and the long cycle of 800/400 years on top of which these shorter cycles of the PDO/AMO/AO and ENSO are peaking.”
    We all will be long gone by the time that occurs. In the mean time we can chase seasonal variations, adjust time intervals for decadal anomalies (pick your favorite 30 year interval), and construct with proxy chronologies.
    This is not to say that we shouldn’t attempt to find a truly represenative climate signal; however, in the current atmosphere, I find that goal almost impossible.

  42. Adam from Kansas (12:01:18) : My daughter was last week in that area and she told me there were some cloud covered and windy days, which is very rare there.
    It’s “climate change”, no doubt!! :-).
    But it is not something to laugh about, relative cold at the equator, then what is it in the future for higher latitudes.

  43. Adolfo: On Unisys they show this area as of yesterday up to 2 degrees cooler than usual, but back on Oct. 11 the cool area was a little cooler so it’s showing some retreat as El Nino attempts to revive itself.
    That could be a little uptick that could go down again or not. As for how it shows on the NOAA map, can you trust their apparent exaggeration of SST’s which may include some cool exagegration with all the apparent warm bias?

  44. So is that the most precipitous drop on record? Yes, I know it’s only a few years, but if that describes it then I’m sure we can expect that to be the headlines.

  45. I have been watching Unisys for years and find it less usefull than
    http://www.wunderground.com/MAR/ which gives us the actual sea surface temp. If you look at the coast,off South America, you see that it is below normal all the way from it’s tip, to Ecuador. What is most interesting is how it is cool off Peru and warmer to the west. It looks like the cooler water is being pushed westward. This is not what happens during an El Nino, it is what happens in La Nina. So what is really going on? Half El Nino and half La Nina at the same time.
    The low level of sea ice in 2007 was wind driven, which pushed multi-year ice into the North Atlantic which showed up this year as a cool anomaly between Canada and the UK. It is now gone but it seems to have had an effect on the flow of warm gulf water north to the EU. Without this warm water, winter temps in the UK etc. will be less than what the MET expects.

  46. Isn’t this all similar to watching a tree grow? Yet I find myself in the stands rooting. Explosive situation…like the soccer mobs in the third world countries such as Mexico and Central America..

  47. Ray Harper UK (02:08:00) :
    The iceberg that sank the Titanic was never in the Arctic Ocean. It calved from a glacier in West Greenland which is where most icebergs in the North Atlantic emanate
    Well Ray, since most of the West Coast of Greenland is within the Arctic Circle I personally would cut RBateman some slack even though the Arctic Ocean does not extend past the northern Coast of Greenland. Of course, he never actually mentioned the Arctic Ocean in his post, only the Arctic.

  48. kent (20:11:56) :
    This is not what happens during an El Nino, it is what happens in La Nina. So what is really going on? Half El Nino and half La Nina at the same time.

    Good observation. Let´s ask the most informed on these matters if this is unique indeed, perhaps due to the “interesting times” of the solar minimum we are beginning to witness.

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