UKMO Hadley Centre Datasets Appear Split on Whether 2014 Will Have Record-Warm Global Sea Surfaces

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

A few days ago, we showed that global ocean surfaces are, just barely, at record warm levels in 2014, according to the two NOAA sea surface temperature datasets. But the two UKMO sea surface temperature datasets are split. One is pointing to 2014 as warmest, but, with the other, 1998 looks like it will remain the highest…by a hair.  (Thanks to wbrozek for advising me of the HADSST3 update.)


We recently presented the Meteorological Annual Mean (December to November) sea surface temperatures for 1997 through 2014, using the two sea surface temperature datasets furnished by NOAA: ERSST.v3b and Reynolds OI.v2.  See the post Meteorological Annual Mean (Dec-Nov) Global Sea Surface Temperatures Set a Record High in 2014 By a Whopping…  For the ERSST.v3b dataset, 2014 was 0.02 deg C warmer than the previous record high in 1998, and for the Reynolds OI.v2 data, 2014 was 0.01 deg C warmer than in 1998.  It didn’t matter with those two datasets whether we included the polar oceans; the difference was the same.

The UKMO Hadley Centre also has two sea surface temperature products. First, the HADSST3 dataset is the sea surface temperature component of the HADCRUT4 combined land+ocean product.  Unlike the NOAA ERSST.v3b data used by NCDC and GISS, HADSST3 is not infilled. That is, if a 5-deg latitude by 5-deg longitude grid contains no data for a month, that grid is left blank in HADSST3…same as the CRUTEM4 land surface air temperature component of the HADCRUT4 product.

Second, their HADISST dataset is a statistically infilled dataset that incorporates satellite data from 1982 to present.   It is preferred by many scientists for short-term and long-term studies of global sea surface temperatures.  In fact, if you were to perform a Google Scholar search of HADISST, you’d get about 2900 results, which is more than the 2500 results shown for NOAA’s ERSST dataset.    The Hadley Centre has been in the process of updating the HADISST dataset for a couple of years. If memory serves, HADISST2 was expected to be released in 2013.  It’s now approaching the end of 2014.

So let’s take a look at the two UKMO Hadley Centre products and see which is expected to show record-high sea surface temperatures in 2014.


HADSST3 is only available on an anomaly basis, compared to the base years of 1961-1990.  The November 2014 global sea surface temperature anomaly value from the Hadley Centre was published recently, so we can show the HADSST3 data on a (December to November) Meteorological Annual Mean basis.  See Figure 1. According to the HADSST3 dataset, the surfaces of the global oceans were 0.04 deg C warmer in 2014 than in 1998.

Figure 1

Figure 1

The data has not been updated since this summer for the HADSST3 product at the KNMI Climate Explorer, so I had to use the data direct from the UKMO website here, with the format discussion here.  That also means we can’t provide a graph showing the data without the polar oceans (60S-60N), as I had for the two NOAA products in the last post.


The updates of the HADISST data have always lagged a few months.  Currently, September 2014 is the most current month.  As a result, I’ll present annual average anomalies (January to December) with the year-to-date (September) for 2014. The source this time is the KNMI Climate Explorer.  For the global HADISST-based global sea surface temperature anomalies, year-to-date 2014 is 0.01 deg C less than the full year of 1998. See Figure 2.

Figure 2

Figure 2

And as shown in Figure 3, looking at the global HADISST data without the polar oceans (60S-60N), 1998 was warmer than YTD 2014 by 0.02 deg C.

Figure 3

Figure 3


Like the NOAA sea surface temperature datasets, the differences between 1998 and 2014 using the UKMO Hadley Centre datasets are minimal, measured in hundredths of a deg C.  Even so, I suspect alarmists will choose to present HADSST3 data, not HADISST data.

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Stephen Richards
December 15, 2014 4:39 am

Only the warmest / warmist one will be published and then the UIKMO will send Betts and Wilson out to the blogs to persuade us that they are not the liars and cheats we think they are.

Paul Mackey
Reply to  Stephen Richards
December 16, 2014 2:05 am

They are if they quote it as warmer by two hundredths of a degree and omit the error bar. That is lying by omission

December 15, 2014 4:43 am

Its worth remembering that sea surface temperatures are only that – surface values.
Most regions with spectacular SSTs have unremarkable temperatures down to 150m, e.g. North Pacific.
SSTs are transient by nature.
One thing that can cause them is reduction in circulation / mixing energy.
SSTs say as much about currents and mixing as they do about heat budgets.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  phlogiston
December 15, 2014 6:05 am

Remember that this is just an anomaly with a base period of 1961 -1990 restricted to latitudes of 60 N to 60 S. And that’s all it is.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 15, 2014 6:47 am

Correction, I am looking at fig 3, figs 1 and 2 are latitudes 90 s to 90 N.

December 15, 2014 4:57 am

Vostok and the 8000 year time lag
PS count the zeros.

Gary Pearse
December 15, 2014 5:28 am

With the constant fiddle of the ‘data’, if this is all they could muster, things must be cooling off. Don’t they have algorithms that constantly change historical temperatures as new temps are recorded?

DD More
Reply to  Gary Pearse
December 15, 2014 9:55 am

Adjustments galore. Went looking for accuracy and just what they are able to measure after Bob’s last post and had a real awakening. Seems that overall measuring of ‘sea surface’ has problems. Original bucket & thermometer (no depth control), ship intake (well below surface), buoys (seem to rock in the wave with depth resolution of a meter), then IR satellite (cannot get thru the clouds) to microwave (get thru the clouds, but not the rain & surface mist). Oh and did I mention one of the satellites was doing reasonable until they had to boost the altitude, then had problems with pitch, yaw and just what was the height. The number of adjustments to correct is staggering. Includes (but not limited to); wind speed, rain, cloud amount/percent and cloud water vapor, daytime diurnal warming, high latitudes, aerosols, SSTs 10C, columnar water vapor, higher latitudes show a slight warm bias, seasonal cycle wind direction for SST retrieval, fast moving storms and fronts, wind direction error and instrument degradation.
Still their abstract reads –
Errors were identified in both the MW and IR SST data sets: (1) at low atmospheric water vapor a
posthoc correction added to AMSR-E was incorrectly applied and (2) there is significant cloud contamination of nighttime MODIS retrievals at SST <10C. A correction is suggested for AMSR-E SSTs that will remove the vapor dependency. For MODIS, once the cloud contaminated data were excluded, errors were reduced but not eliminated. Biases were found to be 20.05C and 20.13C and standard deviations to be 0.48C and 0.58C for AMSR-E and MODIS, respectively. Using a three-way error analysis, individual standard deviations were determined to be 0.20C (in situ), 0.28C (AMSR-E), and 0.38C (MODIS).

John Peter
December 15, 2014 5:31 am

As an uninitiated amateur I wonder what 0.02C would feel like (if you can feel it). It takes around 1C to give a human a real fever. What’s the error band or “scientifically significant? What is the error on the individual readings and how much area of the oceans are actually measured? This is a silly game and shows who is a scientist and simply an advocate for a belief system. I am disappointed the “climate science” has sunk to this point where a theoretical 0.02C can be trumpeted as an unprecedented world record and a cause of accelerated AGW alarm.

Reply to  John Peter
December 15, 2014 7:04 am

Yet the BBC said:

Why has the year 2014 been so hot?

No wonder the recent UN world survey put climate change dead last. People have better things to do than worry about theoretical records in the noise.

December 15, 2014 5:34 am

Side note Bob no one seems to care about or noticed is the AMO data for November dropped the most since 1933 for a October to November reading.
There have only been 7 years since 1856 where the AMO dropped .200 or more from a October to a November reading and 2013 and 2014 were the only two back to back years with .200 or more drops on record.

December 15, 2014 5:54 am

Knowing well that “believers” seldom read far beyond the headlines stories like this serve more to nail them to their trail than inform them better.

December 15, 2014 6:01 am

In time-series analysis, the difference between an observed value and its value predicted by a ‘model’ is called the innovation. If the model is correct then the innovations should form a white-noise process, i.e. each value will be randomly independent of the others.
The AGW warmists believe that their models have correctly predicted these most recent “upward” temperature trends, because their models have always predicted warming. But the innovations are not random, hence their predictions are clearly extremely ‘biased’ (in both the mathematical and ethical sense of the word).
So their predictions are ‘correct’ in the sense they have corrected predicted the sign of a trend (warm or cold). No big deal because we all tend to agree it is a (slightly) rising trend.
But what lacks is precision. Their predictions are simply not precise.

Werner Brozek
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
December 15, 2014 9:35 am

After 10 months, the GISS average was 0.664. But after 11 months, it is 0.667. This is slightly above the 2010 value of 0.6575 for all 12 months. There was a drop in GISS from October to November, but other months showed upward spikes to result in a higher average.

Sun Spot
December 15, 2014 6:47 am

So there it is NO warming since 1998 , 16 years. The data proves CO2 is a cclimate player

Sun Spot
December 15, 2014 6:48 am

So there it is NO warming since 1998 , 16 years. The data proves CO2 is a climate bit player.

December 15, 2014 7:11 am

and the error margins on these graphs falls where………..?
Perhaps they could be shown to emphasize just how ridiculous this warmer/colder charade really is.
Temperature has not changed in a meaningful way in either direction. Let’s stop kidding ourselves that we can make measurements this accurately.
The quoted figures are beyond the parameters of the measuring devices themselves !
Just because your computer can handle numbers to many decimal places it does not mean that you can use it to create a figure that is beyond the measuring device’s capability.
Both annual mean graphs are +0.3 degrees +/- ?

Reply to  Jazznick
December 15, 2014 8:24 am

>…and the error margins on these graphs falls where………..?
According to Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate:

Reply to  Johanus
December 15, 2014 11:08 am

Er, that’s the difference between SST2 and 3 and not what I was referring to.
I want to know the ‘margin of error’ in Figs 2 and 3 above.
I defy anyone to be able to measure GSST to hundredths of a degree accuracy either up or down with absolute confidence.
Claims by you, RealClimate or WUWT that a 0.01 degree calculated variation figure is somehow ‘meaningful’ is delusional.
That each side in this debate/argument/war can claim winning headlines around the world on the basis of a couple of blue whale farts hitting/or not hitting an argo buoy in a certain period is pathetic.
Let’s start looking at meaningful numbers – 0.1 is worth reporting, 0.01 is not. In both cases the error factors need to be quoted.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Jazznick
December 15, 2014 5:05 pm

I believe the accuracy on the sea temps is 0.125 C but the satellite readings of the surface might be better. There is no doubt at all that the claimed change of 0.002 is less than the potential error. Thus it means no statistically detectable record high. It is about the same. It’s a long time without any warming, especially after we have been promised so much, so often.

December 15, 2014 7:16 am

Global SST may be interesting, but unlikely to identify cause of the SST rise. Recently I’ve looked at the Atlantic and Pacific equatorial SST (data: )
plotted for two months around each equinox (when the solar input is at its strongest).
I have some ideas, but even a casual look at the graph above shows number of odd things. Warming of the oceans (and globe) is more complex than just sun or CO2.

richard verney
Reply to  vukcevic
December 15, 2014 10:37 am

Good to see this info.
On Bob’s other recent Article The Nonsensical “Just What AGW predicts” and Other Claims By Alarmists about “Record-High” Global Sea Surface Temperatures in 2014, I commented ( richard verney December 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm) in a meesage to Bob:
“Your article shows (claimed) differing icreases in OHC/warming in the various ocean basins even though some of these basins are in broadly similar latitudes.
Given the very large differences (large in relevant terms), the increase in temperature in these basins is difficult to reconcile with a claim that it is the consequence of increase in CO2 atmospheric concentration leading to an increase in DWLWIR which in turn has caused the ‘claimed’ ‘observed’ warming.
But of course, there are data issues. Namely lack of length, sparse spatial coverage, no test to see whether there is an inbuild bias caused by the free floating nature of the ARGO buoys which get swept along with prevailing currents, no realistic assessment of errors and uncertainties etc.
You would really need to sub divide the ocean basins in to very small latitude bands, and making a proper comparison on a similar latitude band by similar latitude band basis to see what is going on.”
Your plots of SST of these two ocean basins 9at similar latitudes) does show a different response to prevailing conditions encountered, but of course, we do not know how this may correlate with changes in cloudiness. One thing is fairly sure, it does not seem to be a sole and simple issue, namely the component of CO2 forcing.

Reply to  richard verney
December 15, 2014 12:12 pm

Done the Atlantic two years ago (see this link )

Reply to  vukcevic
December 15, 2014 10:45 am

Just added plot for the Indian Ocean which clearly identifies the culprit.

Reply to  vukcevic
December 15, 2014 1:17 pm

If the so called ‘tele-connection’ is a real factor, then it appears that the equatorial Atlantic and Pacific follow the Indian Ocean, and only in the second part of the year.
It is up to the major ocean currents how energy is then transported pole-ward.
Note: equatorial Atlantic is only one showing any sign of the ‘60 year cycle’, and only in the first half of the year.

December 15, 2014 8:08 am

” Even so, I suspect alarmists will choose to present HADSST3 data, not HADISST data.”
Since those data won’t be complete for many months, prob’ly in April, I think you will be correct.

December 15, 2014 8:31 am

The Met Office are being characteristically circumspect about whether or not this is a record warm year in their press release from 3trd December, part of which is reproduced here
—- ——
Colin Morice, a climate monitoring scientist at the Met Office, said: “Record or near-record years are interesting, but the ranking of individual years should be treated with some caution because the uncertainties in the data are larger than the differences between the top ranked years. We can say this year will add to the set of near-record temperatures we have seen over the last decade.”
Phil Jones, Research Director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, said: “Spatially, 2014 has so far been warmer than the 1961-1990 average almost everywhere, the main exception being central and eastern parts of North America. For Europe, many countries in northern and eastern parts will likely have had near-record warm years.”
‘Interestingly, while all months this year except August have seen above average temperatures in the UK, no single month has seen a temperature record. Instead the year has been consistently warm.’

December 15, 2014 8:45 am

Keep in mind:
The thermal time constant (time to respond 63.2% to a step change in forcing) for the planet is about 5 years. Reconcile this with reported rapid average global temperature fluctuations.
The apparently-random uncertainty in reported average global temperatures is about s.d. 0.09 K.
The continental US covers about 1.5% of the planet surface.
The oceans cover about 71% of the planet surface.
At and references listed there, discover findings of unbiased science:
1. Historical evidence that CO2 change does not cause climate change.
2. The two factors that correlate 95% since before 1900 with average global temperature including the current plateau, and predict the ongoing down trend of average global temperature.
3. An explanation of why CO2 change does not cause climate change.

David S
December 15, 2014 9:12 am

Ok so the sea surface temperature may have changed by a tiny fraction of 1 degree over the last 18 years. But the inter-glacial warm period we now live in (the Holocene) is 11,000 years old. We have data for only 0.16% of that time period. What does that tell us? How much did the sea surface temperature change during the Holocene period? Is the miniscule change in temperature over the last 18 years normal or is it very unusual? It means nothing other than to show that the sea surface temperature for the last 18 yeas has been quite stable.

December 15, 2014 11:04 am

Think about it, even those who have heavily promoted AGW and have a strong vested interest in keeping ‘the cause ‘ going are having a hard time finding any increase . So what does that ell you about the actual reality of the situation?

Walt D.
December 15, 2014 4:02 pm

Why are the fixated on the average temperature? Surely it would be a lot easier to compare temperatures at fixed locations to see if they have increased. Since they have locations all over the globe, if global warming due to CO2 is in fact global,(assuming that the CO2 does not have regional pockets), then we should see significant increases at most locations.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Walt D.
December 15, 2014 7:01 pm

”Why are the(y) fixated on the average temperature?
The issue has been discussed (link below) but the answer is likely that temperature was thought to be an easy concept and easy to do, and it seemed to be going up. Just what they needed. Now we know it (average temperature) is not an easy concept and to record lots of temperatures from many places and do something with all the numbers (and those missing) is not easy either. Anyway, have a look here:
“. . . policy-makers’ obsession with global temperatures that do not actually move in lockstep with the real dangers of climate change. New goals are needed. It is time to track an array of planetary vital signs —

Reply to  Walt D.
December 16, 2014 8:48 am

Yes, Walt. The problem is local surface temperature data sets tend not to show a warming.

December 15, 2014 4:48 pm

Would there be any connection between SST and the massive weather system that stretches from James Bay south to the Gulf of Mexico today? Just wondering, @ any of you Meteorologists.
(Fer corn sake Maw! did he say he’s a meat eating Urologist?)

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Dawtgtomis
December 15, 2014 7:21 pm

If you look at the winds,47.20,333
… You can see the flow into the Low now centered over southern Lake Michigan. Air is in motion northward from the southern parts of the Gulf of Mexico, and from the northern part of Hudson Bay going south. Do a track-back on this Low to see where it began forming and there is you answer. Too messy to determine much, I think.
See the map here for labels and so on:

December 15, 2014 5:58 pm

When a purported change is well within the margin of error, there is no basis to make a claim.

December 16, 2014 3:51 am

Why is it that individuals like myself no longer have any confidence in data put out by government agencies like the UK Met Office… data which have not been subjected to independent external audit?
Can you see the problem? You have the UK government that has been at the forefront of the dangerous man-made global warming doctrine, and has a Climate Change Act that effectively blames human activity CO2 emissions for dangerous global warming… and then you have the government’s key weather agency, the UK Met Office, that must adhere to government policy on climate change.

December 16, 2014 8:43 am

Thanks for your good work and clear graphics, Bob.
0.02 deg C warmer? No, it is all of 0.04 deg C warmer! Much worst that we thought.

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