Dr. Roy Spencer's Sea Surface Temperatures

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Over at Roy Spencer’s excellent web site, Dr. Roy has a post up showing a sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly calculated from AMSR-E, TMI, and WindSat. Here’s his post of the results:

spencer global sst amsr-e TMIFigure 1. Global Microwave Sea Surface Temperature Update for Feb. 2013: -0.01 deg. C

Regarding these results, Dr. Roy says:

The anomalies are computed relative to only 2003-2006 because those years were relatively free of El Nino and La Nina activity, which if included would cause temperature anomaly artifacts in other years. Thus, these anomalies cannot be directly compared to, say, the Reynolds anomalies which extend back to the early 1980s.

So I figured I’d give him a hand by using the same 2003-2006 monthly anomaly baseline for the Reynolds Optimal Interpolation (OI) sea surface temperature, so we could have a longer dataset, and to see how his results compare to the Reynolds OI data.

I started by datapointing Dr. Roy’s data. I digitized it, and entered it into Excel.

Then I downloaded the Reynolds SST data (actual, not anomalies) from KNMI for the same area of the planet, 60°N to 60°S. Finally, I figured the monthly averages for the 2003-2006 period, and subtracted them from the Reynolds actual data to give the anomalies. Figure 2 shows the results:

sea surface temperature comparison 60nsFigure 2. Reynolds OI and Spencer Microwave SST measurements.

Not much to say, except that Dr. Roy’s results agree pretty well with the Reynolds OI data, and that there’s been no significant increase or decrease in SST in the last 15 years or so …

All data and calculations are here as an Excel spreadsheet.

My best regards to everyone,

w.

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bones
March 6, 2013 9:05 am

Willis, thanks for the comparison. I wondered about it but was too lazy to do what you have done.

cui bono
March 6, 2013 9:24 am

Nice one Willis. Another flatline.
So the Godzillian gigajoules of ‘missing heat’ hiding down in the Mariana Trench haven’t had any effect yet? (/sarc).

Barry Cullen
March 6, 2013 9:28 am

Willis,
From your recent posts, you must still be retired.

EJT
March 6, 2013 9:36 am

As an “outsider” when and why did this habit of calling the variation from mean value an “anomaly” start ? Surely you expect there to be variations, so there is nothing anomalous about them. Was this started by the AWG crowd to make the lay reader think “there is something wrong” ?

more soylent green!
March 6, 2013 9:39 am

Does anybody have an overlay that shows sea surface temperature and HadCRUT, GissTemp, and others? I’d like to see how the data compares over time.

David S
March 6, 2013 9:40 am

It’s a travesty. Maybe it was never there.
Thanks Willis, yet again.

March 6, 2013 10:01 am

Why only from 60N to 60S?
I appreciate the results are pleasing as they relate to the levelling seen in the surface temperature data of the last 16 years, but I know from working in higher latitude waters how dramatically different polar waters are from subtropical waters. For example, the boundary between the dark bottle green waters of the Labrador Current and the azure blue waters of North Atlantic Drift (Gulf Stream) is very visible on most occasions. The collision coincides with the foggiest region of the world south of Newfoundland.
Surely, if you are going to use the word ‘global’ you must include the regions from 60N and 60S to the Poles. It is especially important because the IPCC claim warming will be greater in those latitudes. Milankovitch also acknowledged the importance of changing obliquity of the ecliptic in these latitudes.

March 6, 2013 10:01 am

more soylent green! says:
March 6, 2013 at 9:39 am
Does anybody have an overlay that shows sea surface temperature and HadCRUT, GissTemp, and others? I’d like to see how the data compares over time.
Is this what you wanted? If not, you can start with this and add or delete as you wish.
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1997.33/trend/plot/gistemp/from:2001.33/trend/plot/wti/from:2000.9/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997.1/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2000.8/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1997.33/plot/gistemp/from:2001.33/plot/wti/from:2000.9/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997.1/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2000.8/plot/rss/from:1997/plot/rss/from:1997/trend/plot/uah/from:2008.5/plot/uah/from:2008.5/trend

Gneiss
March 6, 2013 10:04 am

Willis writes,
“Dr. Roy’s results agree pretty well with the Reynolds OI data, and that there’s been no significant increase or decrease in SST in the last 15 years or so …”
The “or so” part is not true. The increase in Reynolds SST (your data) appears not significant if you pick 1998 as the start year, or 1996, 1997, or 2000. But it is significant if you pick 1999, 2001, 2002, or 2003 as start years (or anything before 1996). This leads into that whole discussion about cherry picking, and why it’s a poor way to draw conclusions.

Paul Matthews
March 6, 2013 10:13 am

And here for comparison is the latest SST data from the UK Hadley Centrecomment image

Jon in TX
March 6, 2013 10:36 am

Just a simple question. Based on Bob Tisdale’s articles, The warming/colling waters of ENSO seem to migrate based on various ocean currents, and that latent heat from El Nino takes quite a while to dissipate. If true, then how can anyone assume that certain years are “relatively free” of ENSO contamination? Maybe I’m missing something.

Andy Wilkins
March 6, 2013 10:43 am

But Willis, where are the hockey stick temperatures? I thought all that ‘missing heat’ was swirling around in the sea?
Mike, Jim and Al won’t be pleased at all 😉

March 6, 2013 10:53 am

Tim Ball says:
March 6, 2013 at 10:01 am
Why only from 60N to 60S?

I would think it’s because much of the ocean near the poles is covered with ice at least for part of the year, so the water temperature is missing for months at a time there, and that time varies from year to year.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
March 6, 2013 11:02 am

Let’s see, run the checklist:
1. Willis
2. Ocean temperatures
3. Nothing significant happening globally (no sign of global warming)
Yup, we’re about ten posts from the first commenter with some version of “Well Willis, if you were smart and/or educated enough to understand the uncertainties/error margins and/or properly compute the (statistics, trends, differentials) then You would know the real truth is…
Bonus points for bringing up the ARGO data and trying to reduce his obvious glaring overwhelming ignorance of how the floats operate and the quality of those results, and for mentioning how the truth of the oceans is clearly revealed by Levitus 2012, of which perhaps someday Willis will make the tremendous personal sacrifice of someday schlepping down to the public library often enough that perhaps he could review and acquaint himself with that fine scholarly peer-reviewed expert document.

Arfur Bryant
March 6, 2013 11:29 am

more soylent green! says:
March 6, 2013 at 9:39 am
Does anybody have an overlay that shows sea surface temperature and HadCRUT, GissTemp, and others? I’d like to see how the data compares over time.
MSG,
The nearest I can suggest is the following graphs from the excellent http://www.climate4you.com
http://www.climate4you.com/images/HadSST3%20GlobalMonthlyTempSince1979%20With37monthRunningAverage.gif
http://www.climate4you.com/images/HadCRUT4%20GlobalMonthlyTempSince1979%20With37monthRunningAverage.gif
http://www.climate4you.com/images/GISS%20GlobalMonthlyTempSince1979%20With37monthRunningAverage.gif
Ole Humlum has deliberately chosen the same timescale for each graph for ease of comparison. Elsewhere he has a combined graph of HadCRut3 and SST but for the Tropics only.
Hope this helps. There is a mass of info on the site.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
March 6, 2013 11:35 am

From Willis Eschenbach on March 6, 2013 at 9:51 am:

I wish, but no … just self-employed, and still building houses.

Obviously it is past time for you to combine your skills and main passions, and design and build houseboats.
You’re in California, you have a ready market willing to accept a houseboat as the ultimate hedge against future rising world oceans, even if they currently live ten miles inland. Because after the rise they expect to be on the shoreline.
The fun part is working in “rocket stove” heaters, for cooking, and for driving a boiler for propulsion and electricity generation. Then they can immediately recycle cardboard packaging, paper, scrap wood, driftwood. Very Green.
How far away from the coast do you have to be moored at night for California to not charge resident taxes?

Phil.
March 6, 2013 11:59 am

Tom_R says:
March 6, 2013 at 10:53 am
Tim Ball says:
March 6, 2013 at 10:01 am
Why only from 60N to 60S?
I would think it’s because much of the ocean near the poles is covered with ice at least for part of the year, so the water temperature is missing for months at a time there, and that time varies from year to year.

In their microwave sounding product RSS don’t include any areas where there is surface ice because of interference with the signal I would assume that RSS restrict the use of this data for the same reason.

more soylent green!
March 6, 2013 12:04 pm

wbrozek says:
March 6, 2013 at 10:01 am
more soylent green! says:
March 6, 2013 at 9:39 am
Does anybody have an overlay that shows sea surface temperature and HadCRUT, GissTemp, and others? I’d like to see how the data compares over time.
Is this what you wanted? If not, you can start with this and add or delete as you wish.

I am looking for a chart that would show how well or how poorly the various global temp datasets correlated, especially and divergence with SST.
I think that’s what the link you provided gives me, but I haven’t had any time to look at it in depth.
Thanks

Gneiss
March 6, 2013 1:00 pm

Willis writes,
“I was being quite conservative. If you adjust for autocorrelation using the method of Nychka, there’s been no significant increase in the Reynolds SST database since just after the beginning in 1981.”
Your adjustment increases the standard errors so much that nothing is significant over this time frame. The regression trends remain the same. As does the visually obvious increase in that graph.
Why not take a modern approach and model autocorrelation directly? Doing so gives a different result.

March 6, 2013 1:05 pm

more soylent green! says:March 6, 2013 at 9:39 am
“Does anybody have an overlay that shows sea surface temperature and HadCRUT, GissTemp, and others? I’d like to see how the data compares over time.”

Here is one. You can add or remove data as you wish.

March 6, 2013 1:07 pm

Sorry, link got messed there. Hope this works.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
March 6, 2013 1:12 pm

Re Willis Eschenbach on March 6, 2013 at 12:45 pm:
Oh Willis, you’re wrapped entirely too tight these days.
Going off the recent comments and posts, the checklist is everything required for someone to post some odious comment questioning your competency/education/intelligence/breeding “regarding these matters”.
With such wonders as “trying to educate you” on the ARGO floats, although you’ve written entire considered posts on them,
And recently Levitus was trotted out as something “you should educate yourself about”, although you have also written posts about Levitus 2012.
My apologies, but after so many recent examples of people wanting to “educate” you on these subjects after you’re already demonstrated your knowledge of them, I find it entertaining when whichever-idiots show up wanting you to “educate yourself” on these things Again!
Will they always be doing this?

David A. Evans
March 6, 2013 1:44 pm

kadaka (KD Knoebel) says: That’s the way I interpreted your original comment and was wondering what Willis was upset about.
DaveE.

March 6, 2013 1:45 pm

So, in other words, in over 30 years Sea Surface Temperatures have stayed within a range of 0.6 C, and are currently slightly under the average. What about all that “warm surface water” that fed Katrina, Sandy, and all the other Superstorms such as we have “never had before (sarc)?” THAT meme has taken a hard blow here.
Somebody needs to find a way to communicate this crucial and much-obfuscated information to “Low Information Voters.” Another nail in the coffin of CAGW!!!
Willis, are you comfortable with knowing the temperature of the surface of the ocean to within 0.1 C? If you are, it seems you should be more comfortable with knowing the average temperature of the oceans to within 0.01 C, as many discussed with the ARGO thermometers. Water takes a lot more energy to change its temperature than air does…

Editor
March 6, 2013 2:05 pm

And for those who missed the link Monday on the TLT thread, here’s a link to the preliminary Reynolds sea surface temperature update for February 2013:
http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/preliminary-february-2013-sea-surface-temperature-anomaly-update/

Andy
March 6, 2013 2:12 pm

Hi Willis,
I suspect the character assassination is driven from a blog post by PZ Myers, where the fool criticises this site and you in particular. Hilariously the fool did not realise your posts sometimes get published in journals.
Kind regards.

Editor
March 6, 2013 2:30 pm

Willis, to expand on your reply to Tim Ball, global sea surface temperatures (90S-90N) are warming at a slower rate than the latitudes used by you and Roy Spencer (60S-60N):
http://i49.tinypic.com/349cw9i.jpg
Keep in mind, while the Arctic Ocean may be warming…
http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/13-arctic.png
…the Southern Ocean covers more surface area and it’s cooling:
http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/14-southern.png
Graphs are from the January update:
http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/january-2013-sea-surface-temperature-sst-anomaly-update/
Regards

March 6, 2013 2:41 pm

“David A. Evans says:
March 6, 2013 at 1:44 pm
kadaka (KD Knoebel) says: That’s the way I interpreted your original comment and was wondering what Willis was upset about.
DaveE.”

With the three items checklist, I was on board with Kadaka spiking the troll types who never seem to remember real science details and harp on rebutted research as if it’s cutting edge truth, ike hockey sticks, Antarctica peninsula temps averaged over Antarctica or how a tiny fraction of a degree ocean temperature is proof of man caused global warming.
I didn’t follow the checklist logically into the following paragraphs; even afterI reading it through several times. I was especially puzzled as those paragraphs were, to me, distinctly un-Kadaka like.
Overall, I was left with the impression overall that Kadaka was challenging Willis, so I understand Willis’s response.
Perhaps rephrasing the paragraphs would’ve helped; especially as their lack of clarity and especially constinuity were not Kadaka’s style either, again my personal opinion.
A /sarc would’ve helped.

Editor
March 6, 2013 2:42 pm

more soylent green! says: “Does anybody have an overlay that shows sea surface temperature and HadCRUT, GissTemp, and others? I’d like to see how the data compares over time.”
From a post in April 2012, I’ve got a comparison of CRUTEM4 and HADSST3:
http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/figure-101.png
And the difference:
http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/figure-112.png
They’re from this post:
http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/a-closer-look-at-crutem4-since-1975/

March 6, 2013 4:08 pm

Willis
I cannot accept your argument about the amount of ocean within 60° of the poles. It is partly true for the Antarctic, but not for the Arctic. Consider there is some 21 million square kilometers within the Arctic Circle and that includes very large important areas of oceans, such as a large section of the North Atlantic. Expand that area out to 60°N and an even greater area of ice free ocean is encompassed. You can see the area within the Arctic Circe on this map;
http://tinyurl.com/chyj8vf
Then add a further five degrees of latitude and you can see how the area expands significantly. There is also the transfer of heat from the relatively warmer water through the ice to heat the cold air.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
March 6, 2013 4:18 pm

From atheok on March 6, 2013 at 2:41 pm (quoted out of sequence):

A /sarc would’ve helped.

We were told long ago the sarc tag would be coming out with the next HTML release, but for HTML5 it never made it out of beta. Maybe next time.

(…) I was especially puzzled as those paragraphs were, to me, distinctly un-Kadaka like.

Perhaps rephrasing the paragraphs would’ve helped; especially as their lack of clarity and especially constinuity were not Kadaka’s style either, again my personal opinion.

I was not aware my “style” was all that distinctive. I’ve even been trying to tighten it up somewhat, make it more “standard”.


Overall, I was left with the impression overall that Kadaka was challenging Willis, so I understand Willis’s response.

In a mocking imitation of the usual trollish “challenges”, that was highly exaggerated, that’s what I was aiming for and that’s how it sounded to me.
That it so strongly got Willis’ goat, well, that was unexpected. I thought he’d know me better by now, especially since anything I write is sarc as the default formatting.
It’s also strangely reinforced the many warnings of the farming relatives to avoid goats altogether when I asked. Which was saddening, as the TV had led me to believe a few of the small ones would be excellent self-directed self-refueling combination lawnmowers/weed-whackers. I likely wouldn’t have had to even fence or pen them in either since, well, if those invisible fence and shock collar combos can contain a St. Bernard or pit bull…

Arno Arrak
March 6, 2013 4:59 pm

Interesting. Apparently measured in the Eastern equatorial Pacific. Shows four El Nino peaks in the eighties and nineties, the super El Nino of 1998, the twenty-first century high, the 2008 La Nina, and the 2010 El Nino. The last one is higher than the 1998 super El Nino but we are talking of SST, not atmospheric temperatures, and different sources of data. The correspondence between SST and atmospheric temperature is due to the fact that El Nino waves that traverse the Pacific along the equatorial countercurrent wash ashore in South America, spread out along the coast in both directions, and warm the air above. It is this heat transfer that generates the ENSO oscillation. As you can see, the twenty first century high is caused by a missing La Nina which got blotted out by the huge amount of warm water the super El Nino carried across the Pacific. Read pp. 23-29 in “What Warming?”

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
March 6, 2013 5:23 pm

From Willis Eschenbach on March 6, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Clearly I totally misread your intent, my apologies.

Again, my apologies for my response.

Don’t apologize unless it means something. Since I took no offense and had laughed off your response as soon as I saw it, knowing all along it was a simple misunderstanding, nothing needed apologizing for… How could your apologies have meant anything?
Simple question, straight up: Can you seriously imagine either of us going hard against the other, in a way that is meant to be taken serious? Maybe if you write up a definitive well-researched work recommending the fast breeding of brown babies by parents force-fed a vegan diet as an emergency meat supply, then I might have a few choice words for you. Especially if you go against your long-professed ethics and don’t archive your data, with instant web access.

David A. Evans
March 6, 2013 6:46 pm

kadaka (KD Knoebel). Your sense of humour is going to get you in trouble one day. 😉
DaveE.

March 6, 2013 6:54 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
March 6, 2013 at 11:23 am
Cherry picking? Sorry, no way, I don’t engage in that kind of thing.
============
Agreed. A toss of the dice/coin no memory. No matter what you throw, your next toss is not affected. This is the statistics you learn in school.
Temperature is a different matter. A hot day/month/year is more likely to be followed by another hot day/month/year than it is to be followed by a cold day/month/year. We can see it in the data. This is auto-correlation. The data depends on the past – it has a memory.
Thus, when people talk about statistical significance, they must first take the time to understand statistics. The temperature was a coin toss or a throw of the dice then the change is significant. However, since temperature is highly auto-correlated then the change is not significant.

Lesley McKay
March 6, 2013 8:36 pm

kadaka
let it be mate, you are over egging it

March 7, 2013 12:14 am

“…It’s also strangely reinforced the many warnings of the farming relatives to avoid goats altogether when I asked. Which was saddening, as the TV had led me to believe a few of the small ones would be excellent self-directed self-refueling combination lawnmowers/weed-whackers. I likely wouldn’t have had to even fence or pen them in either since, well, if those invisible fence and shock collar combos can contain a St. Bernard or pit bull…”

Um…
Not that my opinion or perspective is worth much. a friend of mine bought goats under the same premise. They love the goats, in a way, and the goats are extremely effective.
Everything green from cut grass level, (actually darn short) to about seven feet high is trimmed; with very few exceptions. How the goats manage to stretch seven feet up to trim branches is puzzling, but if it is chewable, it’s graze to them.
They ended up putting in a wire fence, not for the goats so much, but for dogs. Without an assertive ram, goats are harried, bitten and killed much like sheep are. The goats do get out occasionally but are caught quite near as they stop to browse at the first choice items.
As far as the electronic methods; I don’t know nor do my friends though they did consider the option. The roaming dogs made their minds up for them.
Yes, your style; even in your response to me, you are methodical, replied in even steps with continuity. Your message was fairly clear and I didn’t think to myself, “What?” while reading through a sentence or paragraph. No slight is intended. Instead, I’d press my commentary as complimentary to your writing.
Official sarcasm html support would be great. Then even words and imbedded sentences could be so identified. Maybe when the next version is released.

“Lesley McKay says:
March 6, 2013 at 8:36 pm
kadaka
let it be mate, you are over egging it”

Excellent advice for me too Lesley! Thanks for the friendly reminder.

James Allison
March 7, 2013 1:21 am

kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
March 6, 2013 at 4:18 pm
A fun and well written spoof Kadaka – I recognise the skill, thank you.
Willis is either a wound up personality, tight, like a spring – as you suggest – which slights the ebb and flood flows of his incessant pacific stories. Or perhaps he’s simply gotten too enthralled in his own cleverness to see the lightness around him. Willis I recommend the old Czech movie “The unbearable lightness of being”
All the best
J

johnmarshall
March 7, 2013 2:23 am

Dr Tim Ball:- quite right 60N-60S is hardly global.
I lost a little respect for Dr Spencer when he told me that the 2nd law of thermodynamics could be violated.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
March 7, 2013 4:08 am

Re Willis Eschenbach on March 7, 2013 at 12:06 am:
So let’s just agree, if we were in the same physical location, to each have their beverage of choice and laugh the whole thing off, put it behind us, life’s too short.
Deal?

GeoLurking
March 7, 2013 5:42 pm

kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
March 6, 2013 at 4:18 pm

… I likely wouldn’t have had to even fence or pen them in either since, well, if those invisible fence and shock collar combos can contain a St. Bernard or pit bull…

Dunno how reliable that would be. I overheard two corrections officers discussing on of their charges that had a tendency to strip off his clothes and leap onto the electric fencing. Ostensibly for the sheer entertainment value.
The story is real, whether they were being factual with each other is debatable.

James Allison
March 7, 2013 10:41 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
March 7, 2013 at 9:38 am
Nice thought you wanting to remember me Willis but I real can’t fit your ego into my life.
All the best
J

Gras Albert
March 9, 2013 2:46 am

more soylent green!

Does anybody have an overlay that shows sea surface temperature and HadCRUT, GissTemp, and others? I’d like to see how the data compares over time.

NIck Stokes

Here is one. You can add or remove data as you wish.
Sorry, link got messed there. Hope this works

MSG, it’s amazing what Nick’s tool can show

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