The Recent Drop In The Sea Surface Temperatures Of U.S. Coastal Waters

by Bob Tisdale

This post illustrates the recent drop in the SST anomalies of the U.S. coastal waters. We’ll represent this subset with the coordinates of 20N-50N, 130W-65W. I’ve used those coordinates in at least one earlier post about the SST Anomalies of U.S. “Coastal” Waters. Figure 1 is the December 2010 Reynolds OI.v2 SST anomaly map with those coordinates highlighted. The cooling appears to be an exaggerated response to the 2010/11 La Niña.

http://i51.tinypic.com/ny902e.jpg

Figure 1

Figure 2 is the Reynolds OI.v2-based time-series graph for this subset. After the two-month flattening in September and October 2010, at approximately -0.24 deg C, the SST anomalies dropped more than 0.65 deg C by January 2011. The January 2011 reading for the U.S. Coast Waters is the lowest on record for the satellite-based Reynolds Oi.v2 SST dataset.

http://i55.tinypic.com/2hqe9hu.jpg

Figure 2

Note: This is not a post about global sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies, nor is it a post about the SST anomalies of the individual ocean basins. For those refer to the January 2011 SST Anomaly Update.

Figures 3, 4, and 5 show the long-term SST anomalies for the U.S. Coastal Waters using the HADISST, ERSST.v3b, and HADSST2 datasets. They provide a different perspective on the magnitude of the recent drop. For the HADISST and ERSST.v3b datasets, one has to go back to the April 1971 to find similar SST anomalies, and back to July 1933 with HADSST2 data.

http://i53.tinypic.com/339o96f.jpg

Figure 3

###################

http://i54.tinypic.com/30w5e6v.jpg

Figure 4

###################

http://i56.tinypic.com/29e54s6.jpg

Figure 5

The weekly data for this subset, Figure 6, show that the SST anomalies are rebounding. I’ll add this dataset to the monthly update for a few months to assure it rebounds fully.

http://i52.tinypic.com/11lmsuw.jpg

Figure 6

SOURCE

The map and all data presented in this post are available through the KNMI Climate Explorer:http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_obs.cgi?someone@somewhere

 

Advertisements

56 thoughts on “The Recent Drop In The Sea Surface Temperatures Of U.S. Coastal Waters

  1. Well that’s scary. Taking fig.4 as a clearer example, it takes about 30 years to go from peak to trough to peak.
    Currently we are about 12 years from the peak in 1998, so another 18 years or so of cooling to come?
    That rebound you mentioned may only be a wee little temporary one.
    Thankyou for the post, the graphs are fantastic.

  2. This is clearly cooling caused by warming. As the oceans warm, CO2 and other gases outgas. Also water evaporates, all of which causes a cooling of the SST. Do I win a Gavin Award for my creative explanation?

  3. “The cooling appears to be an exaggerated response to the 2010/11 La Niña.”
    Agreed but what might cause the response to be ‘exaggerated’ rather than ‘normal’?

  4. Stephen Wilde says:
    February 23, 2011 at 10:21 am
    You are right—I did not put that in perspective. I guess the current Holocene is an exaggerated response to the last glaciation? Words do seem to be important, or, as Monty Python says, “it is not just a matter of the number of words, but also getting them in the proper order”.

  5. I always check the weather as I plan a trip, do I bring the boogie board or my hockey stick when I go to Brownsville TX next week.
    I’m so confused now.

  6. Bob, can you explain the differences among-between the charts: HADISST US Coastal Anomalies, ERSST.v3b, and HADISST2. In the last one ~1881 and ~1893 are at ~-1.7 degrees. That seems “cold”; the present SST coastal anomaly is “much warmer” by comparison. The first two show “much warmer” anomalies at those dates. What gives?
    When I compare today’s coastal anomaly with the first two, I become more alarmed by E.M. Smith’s latest discussion of Bond events (http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/intermediate-period-half-bond-events/). It seems we are “definitely” turning colder, more like at the beginning of the exit from the Little Ice Age. Are we on our way down? (As far as I have read, we simply don’t have any ideas why these Bond events occur, but societies-civilizations have regularly fallen with the more severe cooling,)
    When I see how much colder the end of the 19th C oceans were in HADISST2 compared to today, I breathe a little sigh of relief. The HADISST2 chart leads me to believe that maybe we have more time with warmth. A final thought. One of Chiefio’s main points with which I agree no matter how soon the climate changes : “Can we get off this treadmill with modern technology? I’d like to hope so. But we’ve only got about 10 to 15 years to prepare and we are doing exactly the wrong things.”


  7. bubbagyro says:
    February 23, 2011 at 10:19 am
    Do I win a Gavin Award for my creative explanation?

    No, but you are now authorized to wear a “sharper00 V ” on your lapel.

  8. It’s a real shame that the climate scientists are still spewing out bad “science” on a warming period that actually ended years ago and are totally missing the real science of exactly how, by proper physics, the Earth is reconstructing itself into the configuration found at the bottom of cool periods. They have already blown it again! Shame on them. They ignore Dr. Miskolczi who has pretty much explained why.
    However, that is also why most people always invest their money at a top. Must be a deeply imbedded natural tendency most have.

  9. I agree, the graphs are fantastic — thanks for the post.
    The amplitude of change in relation to time is amazing.

  10. Bob, excellent as usual….
    Should this be “off” instead of “of”
    “This post illustrates the recent drop in the SST anomalies “of” the U.S. coastal waters”

  11. I live on an island in the Gulf off Ft. Myers. The Gulf is very cool now—it should be in the 70s by now. I’ve been swimming this time of year before. I guess this “anomaly” explains a bit.

  12. bubbagyro says:
    February 23, 2011 at 10:19 am
    This is clearly cooling caused by warming. As the oceans warm, CO2 and other gases outgas. Also water evaporates, all of which causes a cooling of the SST. Do I win a Gavin Award for my creative explanation?
    ========================================================
    I’m nominating you for a Romm! Clearly, you are getting very close to properly articulating the warmcold phenomenon! And dabbling with the wetdry dynamic!

  13. Bob
    Is this comparable to a limited case of -ve PDO and -ve AMO scenario around North America , even though AMO is not yet negative [but it is quite low+VE] ? The weather impact seems somewhat similar [ weather like the 1970’s].

  14. Gore’s, Hegerl’s and others “findings” about increased precipitation extremes due to warming look pretty stupid, when the increased snowfall is accompanied by multi decade low temperatures around the US.

  15. Hi Bob,
    Thanks for this interesting perspective. I’d not really considered la nina events to be north Atlantic effective before. Maybe the cold water sneaks through the Panama Canal at night?
    Perhaps my ideas that heat leaves the oceans *everywhere* while the sun is quiet isn’t so daft after all eh?

  16. By the way, the bounceback will continue for about 6 weeks before dithering down again on and off until September. Final low point around -0.32+/-0.05C is my estimate, on Roy Spencer’s +70–70 Satellite SST index.
    Cheers

  17. pyromancer76 says: “Bob, can you explain the differences among-between the charts: HADISST US Coastal Anomalies, ERSST.v3b, and HADISST2.”
    The last one should read HADSST2, not HADISST2. (I haven’t presented HADISST2 data in this post. There will be a HADISST2 dataset. It should be released by the Hadley Centre this year.)
    The HADISST (Hadley Centre) and ERSST.v3b (NOAA/NCDC) are interpolated/infilled datasets. The HADSST2 (Hadley Centre) data are not infilled. Refer to the following post – An Overview Of Sea Surface Temperature Datasets Used In Global Temperature Products:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/07/overview-of-sea-surface-temperature.html

  18. For Stephen Wilde and matt v and others looking for an explanation as to why there’s an exaggerated response to this La Nina:
    Sorry, but I haven’t looked into it. I really don’t plan to examine it unless it repeats during the next La Nina and/or it starts to have an impact on a larger portion of the globe and/or there’s a long-term shift.

  19. Bob,
    Do you have any idea How much the cold SST on the west coast is due to upwelling as opposed to transport? The west coast news is talking about the upwelling and return of fishing stocks. Is there a map that shows upwelling?

  20. Just The Facts says: “I’ve added a couple of SST Anomaly maps and an Ocean Heat Content chart to WUWT’s Ocean Reference Page…”
    The intro to the NODC Ocean Heat Content should read “Global Ocean Heat Content – 0-700 Meters”, instead of “At 3 Meters”.
    And for the Sea Level map you’ve introduced it as “Global Sea Level Change – Millimeters Per Year – Inverted Barometer Not Applied”, but haven’t given the time period, which is identified on the following page as 1992-2010:
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/maps.php
    Other than that the resourse is great. I can’t think of anything to add.
    Regards

  21. richcar 1225 says: “Is there a map that shows upwelling?”
    I’m not aware of one that continuously monitors it, but that doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist. I ran across a map of the California coast recently at a college/university instructional webpage (don’t remember which, sorry), a snapshot, and it was being used to illustrate Ekman transport/coastal upwelling. Unfortunately, I don’t believe it was continuously monitored.
    I also just ran google image searches of “ekman transport” and “coastal upwelling” and didn’t run across a webpage that showed continuously monitored upwelling.

  22. Serendipitous, finding this map of the Gulf waters the day after Brian Williams on CBS nightly news reports on the excessive numbers of dead baby dolphins washing up on the gulf shores. Tests on the causes of death are ongoing, but Williams’ strongly implied that the cause was the huge gulf oil spill. I wondered last night whether cooler water temperatures might have adversely affected the baby dolphins, since their smaller body masses might be affected more quickly by temperature changes than the bodies of adults.

  23. “This is clearly cooling caused by warming. As the oceans warm, CO2 and other gases outgas. Also water evaporates, all of which causes a cooling of the SST.”
    I would like to apply for my Gavin Second Place Trophy with the following, please:
    – OF COURSE coastal waters are reading cold! It’s from all the cold snow-melt runoff water that’s been flowing in from all across the country! Snow, I will remind you, that was caused by WARMING!

  24. “Bob Tisdale says:
    February 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm
    For Stephen Wilde and matt v and others looking for an explanation as to why there’s an exaggerated response to this La Nina:
    Sorry, but I haven’t looked into it. I really don’t plan to examine it unless it repeats during the next La Nina and/or it starts to have an impact on a larger portion of the globe and/or there’s a long-term shift.”
    Fair enough, Bob. I know you don’t like to extrapolate beyond the data and that is a sound scientific approach lacking on the warmist side.
    But I like to indulge and so do many others so I’ll lay it on the line and risk turning out wrong but I don’t think that will happen.
    In my view the shift in the air circulation systems caused by the effects of the quiet sun operating via atmospheric chemistry (which alters the vertical temperature profile of the whole atmosphere) and not via radiative effects has led to more meridional jets, more clouds globally and a higher global albedo with less energy entering the oceans.
    As long as that continues there will be an exaggerated global response to La Nina conditions (a reduced recharge rate averaged globally – not necessarily limited to the ENSO regions) so that subsequent El Ninos will become steadily more suppressed until the sun gets more active again and the troposphere will continue to cool.
    Of course the opposite process was dominant through most of the 20th century with a high recharge rate and enhanced El Ninos hence the observed increase in ocean heat content and subsequent tropospheric warming.
    The apparent anomaly during the mid 20th century cooling period despite the active sun being due to separate ocean cycles on a different timescale (60 years or so from peak to peak – positive to negative to positive PDO) temporarily offsetting the effect of the longer term ( 1000 years peak to peak – MWP to LIA to date) solar effects.
    The issue will be resolved within a few years if the sun stays quiet.

  25. Bob Tisdale says: February 23, 2011 at 1:53 pm
    The intro to the NODC Ocean Heat Content should read “Global Ocean Heat Content – 0-700 Meters”, instead of “At 3 Meters”.
    And for the Sea Level map you’ve introduced it as “Global Sea Level Change – Millimeters Per Year – Inverted Barometer Not Applied”, but haven’t given the time period, which is identified on the following page as 1992-2010:
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/maps.php

    Corrected and added. Thank you.

  26. Stephen Wilde says:
    February 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm
    I do think that the relatively higher rates of GCR’s during the 70’s and the last 5 years are having a like effect, that being the lowering ocean heat content. The present rate of higher GCR’s compared to the 70’s might also explain the rapid drop of ocean heat content. Even that is a bit fuzzy. What is remarkable is how CO2 concentrations are having no effect.

  27. I love the true believers trying to say that the cold is spilling from the Arctic because of the reduced ice cover. It isn’t, and it’s not.
    Someone should tell these sycophantic cultists that the Gulf Stream has not reversed its flow recently. It is still going out of the Gulf, around Florida and into the N Atlantic. Unless I missed the recent blockbuster news??….

  28. Stephen Wilde says: “In my view the shift in the air circulation systems caused by the effects of the quiet sun operating via atmospheric chemistry…”
    Aren’t the locations of the jets, etc., dictated by the location and temperature of the cooler-than-normal waters associated with the La Nina and by the SST of the western boundary current extensions? If that’s the case, you’d have to tie those variables to “the effects of the quiet sun operating via atmospheric chemistry”.

  29. Bob –
    Anomalies typically are corrected for seasonal influences so that there is no significant annual variation. Yet since 2004, the Reynolds OI.v2 US coastal SST figures (your figures 2 & 6) display quite visible annual cycles. Therefore, the recent seasonal variations differ significantly from those in the baseline period. Is there a known reason why seasonal variations should have increased (or decreased) so much since the reference period?

  30. Am I correct, that if one stood next to a globe representing the Earth that was 6 feet in diameter (about an arms breadth), the depth of the troposphere on said globe would measure 1/2 inch?, with the deepest point in the ocean about 1/2 of that?.
    Just a thought, during thunder sleet in Chicago.

  31. u.k.(us),
    Here’s a graphic representation of the relative volumes of water and atmosphere compared with the globe: click
    [Water on left, air on right.]

  32. u.k.(us),
    The scale of such a 6-foot globe would be about 1 : 7 million. [6 feet : ~8000 miles]
    As the maximum depth of the ocean is around 35,000 feet, the scaled depth would be 35,000 ft/ 7 million = .005 feet = .06 inch.
    The depth of the troposphere (11 miles per Wikipedia) similarly works out be around 0.1 inches.

  33. /rant on
    Bob (and all the other scientist/analyst/pro/cons people in general!!!)
    When will be the time that you start to consider in your analysis my neck of the forest, Chile and the Southern Cone of America.
    it is not the Panama channel. It is here where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans meet, through the Strait of Magellan.
    /rant off
    We as beekeepers of the Ulmo tree have seen drastic changes in bloom timing of our beloved flowers. Since 2004/2005 the production had been going consistently down and after 2006/2007 the date of bloom start have gone back and forth almost by 30 days. ob 2008/2009 Ulmo bloomed by didn’t give any honey.
    Interesting but difficult times to live when you are a beekeeper.

  34. Smokey says:
    February 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm
    HaroldW says:
    February 23, 2011 at 7:04 pm
    ==
    Thanks guy’s, just trying to bring some perspective into our discussions.
    The depths of the medium, always gives me pause.

  35. “Bob Tisdale says:
    February 23, 2011 at 4:41 pm
    Stephen Wilde says: “In my view the shift in the air circulation systems caused by the effects of the quiet sun operating via atmospheric chemistry…”
    Aren’t the locations of the jets, etc., dictated by the location and temperature of the cooler-than-normal waters associated with the La Nina and by the SST of the western boundary current extensions? If that’s the case, you’d have to tie those variables to “the effects of the quiet sun operating via atmospheric chemistry”.
    Yes, in part. However I can’t see the bottom up effect being sufficient on its own to explain all that we observe.
    Proposing a sometimes offsetting and sometimes supplementing top down effect in addition looks much more plausible and a better (if still not perfect) fit.
    The fit is good on the solar 500/1000 year timescales but becomes increasingly less reliable as the timescales reduce due to other internal system variables and general chaotic variability.
    “rbateman says:
    February 23, 2011 at 3:51 pm
    Stephen Wilde says:
    February 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm
    I do think that the relatively higher rates of GCR’s during the 70′s and the last 5 years are having a like effect, that being the lowering ocean heat content. The present rate of higher GCR’s compared to the 70′s might also explain the rapid drop of ocean heat content.”
    Agreed that Svensmark’s GCRs are a contender as is Lindzen’s Iris effect but on balance I am currently of the view that they are mere proxies for the solar effect and have no significant direct effect of their own.
    To get the necessary scale of effect as observed and to fit with a number of other separate observations one really needs to affect the size, position and intensity of all the air circulation systems relative to one another and that manifests best in latitudinal shifting with changes in jetstream zonality/meridionality.
    That is what one needs to change total cloudiness and albedo significantly and personally I see that as a more likely explanation.

  36. Stephen Wilde says: “However I can’t see the bottom up effect being sufficient on its own to explain all that we observe.” And you continued, “The fit is good on the solar 500/1000 year timescales but becomes increasingly less reliable as the timescales reduce due to other internal system variables and general chaotic variability.”
    And I’ll repeat myself from other threads: since you don’t rely on data for your speculation, how would you know?

  37. HaroldW says: “Anomalies typically are corrected for seasonal influences so that there is no significant annual variation.”
    The NOAA climatology does attempt to remove the seasonal component in SST anomaly data. Refer to:
    ftp://ftp.emc.ncep.noaa.gov/cmb/sst/papers/aoiclim.pdf
    And I did use the NOAA NOMADS website for the weekly data in Figure 6. (I’ll have to correct the Source section in the post to reflect that.)
    However, I used the KNMI Climate Explorer for the rest of the data, and the anomaly data through the Climate Explorer receive no such corrections. The base years for anomalies are the term of the data unless otherwise input by the user. That is, the base years for Figure 2 would be 1982 to 2010.
    The following graph shows the minimal difference between the data downloaded through KNMI and through NOAA NOMADS:
    http://i53.tinypic.com/2nknm9x.jpg
    The change in the seasonal component shows up in both datasets regardless of base years.
    You asked, “Is there a known reason why seasonal variations should have increased (or decreased) so much since the reference period?”
    I haven’t run across a paper that discusses it. Since it does not appear to be a function of the base years, do we assume there was a climate shift? Before and after the 1997/98 El Niño?

  38. “And I’ll repeat myself from other threads: since you don’t rely on data for your speculation, how would you know?”
    I didn’t say I ‘know’ in the sense of being able to prove it as yet. However there is general observational data that is persuasive, fits known physical principles and does fit the conjecture.
    Your definition of data is far too prescriptive. Your approach is fine for analysing a specific phenomenon but gets us nowhere in formulating a general overview deserving of further investigation.
    With climate science in its current immature and confused state we need to know where to best direct our attention before allocating resources.
    Anyway, suppose I’ve got the general diagnosis broadly correct ?

  39. Smokey, that picture reference is fantastic. Definitely getting filed away in the off-chance I ever need it to be a know-it-all.
    Thank you for sharing.

  40. “Bob Tisdale says:
    February 24, 2011 at 6:41 am
    Stephen Wilde: Why don’t you and I agree that we will continue to disagree?”
    I’m content with that.
    I’m also happy to discuss things with you as long as you don’t just allege that nothing I say has any value because the data I use does not meet your exacting requirements.

  41. The latest SST’s show warmer water beginning to upwell in the Eastern Pacific off of S. America.
    Is this to be expected as the La Nina waxes and wanes over a multi-year period, or does this signal the end of La Nina is near?

  42. rbateman says: “The latest SST’s show warmer water beginning to upwell in the Eastern Pacific off of S. America.
    “Is this to be expected as the La Nina waxes and wanes over a multi-year period, or does this signal the end of La Nina is near?”
    The 2010/11 La Nina is ebbing.
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2011/02/nino34-sst-anomalies-have-started-their.html
    It’s tough to say whether or not the small “warm cell” near the Galapagos is a symptom/precursor of that.

Comments are closed.