Joe Bastardi was Correct about Gulf of Mexico Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

This is an update of hurricane region sea surface temperature anomalies in light of the formation of Tropical Storm Andrea.

I published the post Hurricane Main Development Region Sea Surface Temperatures & Anomalies – Plus a Couple of Other Regions (cross post at WUWT here) on May 19th. Weekly Gulf of Mexico sea surface temperature anomalies were quite low the week of May 8, 2013.

Joe Bastardi of WeatherBell left the following comment on that thread a few days later:

…there is a major warm loop current this year in the eastern gulf and it will warm that area. The east coast temps are very close to the years when they get hit. In fact temps are much above normal off the ne coast. Here is the latest sst, showing the rapid warming in the eastern gulf as much of the cooling was shallow caused by the nw flow that we had for much of april into may. I am sure the water will warm. Take special note along the east coast, thx Joe

My reply discussed how the NESDIS sea surface temperature maps use only nighttime satellite readings, and as a result, their maps sometimes presented warmer-looking maps.


The sea surface temperature anomalies of the Gulf of Mexico have warmed from the weather-related low the week of my post.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Because of the lag in the weekly sea surface temperature anomaly data through NOMADS, and the more frequent updates (twice per week) of the maps Joe presented, I should have (shoulda’-woulda’-coulda’) checked the NESDIS/OSPO (National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service/Office of Satellite and Product Operations) sea surface temperature anomaly maps webpage to see whether the Gulf of Mexico had warmed. They had. Figure 1 is a gif animation of NESDIS maps of the sea surface temperatures of the Caribbean (that also capture the Gulf of Mexico) from May 6th (the week of the data presented in my post) to the most recent one on June 3rd (OSPO hasn’t yet updated today as I wrote this). I’ve noted the timings of my post, Joe’s comment and the most recent map.

The quick weather-related dip and rebound in the Gulf of Mexico sea surface temperature anomalies also shows up in the time-series graph, Figure 2.

Figure 2 Gulf Comparison

Figure 2

And again, as I noted in the earlier post: hurricanes [tropical storms] don’t care about anomalies.


While you’re here, I’ve updated the graphs (week centered on May 29th) for the Main Development Region (10N-20N, 80W-20W), Eastern Coastal Waters (24N-40N, 80W-70W), and the Caribbean (10N-20N, 84W-60W). See Figures 3 through 5.

Figure 3 MDR

Figure 3


Figure 4 East Coast

Figure 4


Figure 5 Caribbean

Figure 5

And because El Niño events can stifle the development of hurricanes, Figure 6 presents NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies through May 29th. We’re presently experiencing ENSO-neutral conditions; that is, conditions in the tropical Pacific are not El Niño or La Niña.

Figure 6 NINO3.4

Figure 6

Refer also to the NOAA weekly ENSO update. The Hovmoller diagram of subsurface temperature anomalies across the equatorial Pacific (page 16) is showing a moderate build-up of warm water in the west. Because Kelvin waves typically alternate between downwelling (warm) and upwelling (cool), the next one should carry some warm water to the east. But according to the ENSO forecast models (pages 25 to 27), conditions should remain ENSO neutral for the rest of the hurricane season.

Note: Kelvin waves along the equator in the Pacific are called upwelling and downwelling due their impact on the thermocline, which is the transition between the warmer mixed waters nearer the surface and the cooler waters below it. The downwelling (warm) Kelvin waves push down on the thermocline, and upwelling (cool) Kelvin waves draw up the thermocline.


For four years, we’ve been illustrating and discussing how ocean heat content and satellite-era sea surface temperature data indicate the oceans warmed naturally. That doesn’t stop climate change alarmists from making all sorts of nonsensical claims. If the natural warming of the oceans is new to you, refer to the illustrated essay “The Manmade Global Warming Challenge” [42MB].


The Sea Surface Temperature anomaly data used in this post is available through the NOAA NOMADS website:


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June 6, 2013 6:23 am

Bastardi is the shiznit.

June 6, 2013 6:37 am

Joe comes from the old school of meteorologists …..that is those who look back at what was, to find out what might be in the future…nice one JoeB.

June 6, 2013 6:39 am

I have noticed that Joe is correct approximately in inverse proportion to how often Warmists wish he was correct.

June 6, 2013 7:25 am

Joe used to be everywhere on TV until he came out against all this madness of man-made global warming. I’ve been listening to Joe since the early 80’s & he has been right more than any computer model I’ve ever seen. It’s because he uses the God given common sense that we all start life with. But in some people they just throw it out the window for some wild, outlandish theory that some agenda driven professors come out with.

June 6, 2013 7:37 am

When I was in school at PSU, the meteorologist students had not yet made the field into a Religion. They studied Gaia and tried to explain it, they didn’t worship it.

June 6, 2013 7:52 am

To compare a satellite view with the figure 1 graphic in the above post by Bob, well it looks like sunny days would appear to be a factor in the increase in water temp. Open this link in a new tab and compare

June 6, 2013 8:00 am

Joe is a real meteorologist, the kind that so-called “climatologists” wish they could be, if they weren’t pandering to those filling the public feed bags.

June 6, 2013 8:13 am

Bob, I was just comparing the past week that seems to show the obvious, the sun warms the water. Wish there was a way to collect the archives and do a monthly comparison. If it happens on a weekly scale or a monthly scale, well, it happens ;-).
I think clouds are a negative feedback.

June 6, 2013 8:23 am

dfbaskwill. Can we be clear whether the appropriate term for a person who believes in CAGW, GHGs etc is ‘warmist’ or ‘alarmist’? Are the two terms interchangeable? If referring to pro-CAGW ‘Climate Scientists’ I prefer to use ‘alarmist’. The warmistas have been soundly trounced the last 16 years. Collectively, I believe the two groups as a whole should be referred to as ‘ecofascists’.

Steven R. Vada
June 6, 2013 9:06 am

The best name for them is Magic Gassers. The proclaimed a tiny, TINY fraction of the atmosphere, had taken over and was warming, warming, warming. It never matters when what they say’s proven to be and/or have been, a lie. A wrong. The Magic Gas never loses. The Magic Gas, is all that matters to them, because
REMEMBER: without some MAGIC GAS or other
IS no story.
It MUST be so MAGICAL that it’s BEYOND EXPERIMENT What? Oh yeah that’s their mantra. It’s too big to check our story.
It must be so magical it’s beyond using words to define.
It must be so magical it’s beyond using mathematics to define. 168 watts in a mirror became 324 back to the source and 324 to the sky? Who needs math this is MAGICAL GAS.
It must be so magical it’s beyond using the laws of thermodynamics as a reference point. The “new” law is a “net” law with un numberable and un measurable back-and-forth-isms taking place in every thermodynamical interaction in the universe.
It must be so magical it makes men completely “make a fool of myself” proof. People pointing infrared thermometers at the sky exclaiming they’re measuring the back radiation of water, and co2,
who got caught by the manufacturer saying “No you didn’t, we notched the filters. You can’t measure gas water/co2 reflections due to false readings.”
False readings like the man thought he was making: and went online to publicize.
Upon being told that, what did the climate “scientist” and – you guessed it – Magic Gas believer Roy Spencer say? “Ignore them. They don’t understand the climate. I’m measuring the back reflection from gas water and co2 everybody!”
In most fields that would be if not the end, the beginning of it. Instead, Magic Gas believer Roy Spencer was out declaring the people who put the notches in the filters to eliminate gas water and co2, didn’t know anything about it and of COURSE he was measuring magic gas back radiation.
They should all be called magic gassers because this never was even a working hypothesis. It was a hastily drawn up answer to questions where several hundred million in research monies went, so a bunch of character assassins and men who would publish a picture of a warm rock illuminating a mirror with 168 watts of light,
having the mirror return 324 watts to the rock, 324 watts to space above.
It’s either “criminopath” or “magic gasser” and it might be both: but it’s not science. Science doesn’t operate like that.

Joseph Bastardi
June 6, 2013 9:28 am

Before the attack of cold air ( part of what Joe D an I are doing to set up one season is to try to find some common links to the opposite time of the year.. see if there is any lead time there. I have been doing alot of work with late winter early spring 400 mb temps) is to always remember the weather is a movie. My father was constantly talking to me about trying to figure out what the weather was saying. So if you get a family of events that lead to one thing, you then can construct and if/then “loop” to watch for the next. In any case before the cold took hold and nw winds blew top level warm water out of the gulf and the upwelling on the nw wind occurred, the signature of the loop current was there. The key is was it cold before it was cold. ( odd right). If it was warm before it cold, chances are as soon as the mechanism that caused the cold was gone( in this case the pattern of the spring) or retreated, its likely to come back. Another interesting trick is trying to see what the model is saying without it actually saying it. For instance. If the J-A water is warm in a place, then cool or normal S-N how did that happen? In the tropics, its probably because of storms that the model can pinpoint of course, but can sense are likely to be in there.
I must confess this. I always knew I was not the brightest bulb of all the mets I have met. I knew I loved the weather. I was taught I had to work. I learned in wrestling that to be able to wrestle for everything , you must know how to wrestle when have nothing ( what would you do for 1 pt). With the lights I see nowadays, Bob one of them, I am simply adding what I see for a real time test, as I think the only way to truly learn something is to understand if its right and why, and if its wrong and why. One does not get that in classrooms or writing papers, but in actual exchange of ideas and the test of right and wrong. That being the case, you can see why on a multitude of matters, readers and contributors to blogs like this are the ones he will seek and find the truth.
Thanks Bob, you have no idea what a light you are to me

Joseph Bastardi
June 6, 2013 9:30 am

note, spell check took out my word cant, and made it can. as in can pinpoint. I meant it to be can’t and if I had thrown in the apostrophe in the 1st place it wouldn’t have happen. The model can’t see the storm is what it should read
If I could type or spell, I would be …never mind

Steven R. Vada
June 6, 2013 9:30 am

Poor editing sorry I’m on the way somewhere and the post was a hurried one. Terrible grammar -but I won’t be looking for any answers to my atmospheric chemistry and energy dynamics that have people smiling and nodding to my face,
but snarking behind my back I must be as insane as a mad dog at noon to believe that Magic Gas story.
When I arrive at my destination if I bring up weather I won’t be so humiliated for believing in Magic Gas I have to shape-shift every conversation so it “comes out right.”
This is and always was a discussion about a giant magic heater in the sky.
When it became the story of the giant magic angry heater in the sky and you didn’t see it’s protagonists flee in droves,
you knew then you were at an area 51 big foot magic gas zone. Period.
Not maybe.
When the official model by the most sophisticated of it’s believers has 168 watts coming out of a rock into a gas mirror and that mirror puts back out 324 down and 324 up,
that’s called “violates law.”
In Magic Gas country that’s called “You just aren’t looking at it right. No thermodynamical laws, are broken by this.”
Sorry for the grammar anyway.
Mock a Magic Gasser to his/her/their face, today.

June 6, 2013 9:36 am

Philip, I will leave the naming of the various miscreants in this (non-)debate to others. If Warmist is wrong, substitute whatever hardened-and-after-your-money foe you wish. They are all pretty much the same to me. The money is all that matters to them. $70-odd Trillion to lower the temps. 0.1 degree 100 years from now is all they ask! I am just a simple almost-a-doctor way on the sidelines of the issue. The work the true minds of the Skeptic Community do is really quite remarkable. People like me enjoy seeing the Truth every now and then, and it isn’t coming from our Government or their paid “Scientists”.

June 6, 2013 9:39 am

I always knew I was not the brightest bulb of all the mets I have met. I knew I loved the weather.

Pete Rose wasn’t the best young ballplayer either, but he loved the game. He had to work harder and pay closer attention to detail than players with more natural talent but he was successful.

June 6, 2013 9:44 am

@ Steven R. Vada
I seem to have missed your point if there was one.

Martin Lewitt
June 6, 2013 9:46 am

It is no surprise when Joe is amazingly right. I look forward to Joe’s Saturday summary video’s at each week. When my ship comes in, I’m going to subscribe to the premium service.

June 6, 2013 9:51 am

No more cold fronts pushing into the Gulf from TX or the Atlantic States so the SSTs can recover.

June 6, 2013 12:15 pm

Here is a daily 1/4 deg resolution movie of NOAA OISST anomalies, to 4 June. I can’t see much E Gulf warmth.

June 7, 2013 12:25 am

Yes, the entire Gulf of Mexico warmed very quickly. Deep layers were already warm from an exceptionally mild winter. Synoptic considerations in the Spring only cooled shallow upper layers. This was quickly mitigated by, again, synoptic flow.

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