The sea surface temperature anomalies for the NINO3.4 region in the eastern equatorial Pacific (5S-5N, 170E-120E) are a commonly used index for the strength, frequency and duration of El Niño and La Nina events. We keep an eye on the sea surface temperatures there because El Niño and La Niña events are the primary cause of the yearly variations in global sea surface temperatures AND the primary cause of the warming of global sea surface temperatures over the past 30 years.
Looking at the evolution of all El Niño events since November 1981, the early decay in 2012 is looking more and more out of place, as though this year’s El Niño event has come to an end. Time will tell, though.
NINO3.4 Evolution Comparison – All
MONTHLY SST ANOMALY MAP
The following is a Global map of Reynolds OI.v2 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies for September 2012. It was downloaded from the NOMADS website. The contour levels are set at 0.5 deg C, and white is set at zero.
September 2012 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies Map
(Global SST Anomaly = +0.260 deg C)
The Monthly NINO3.4 SST Anomaly continued to cool unexpectedly through September (dropping about -0.30 deg C) to +0.547 deg C, which is just above the +0.5 Deg C threshold of an “official” El Niño. See the weekly NINO3.4 graph near the bottom of the post also, because sea surface temperatures are continuing to fall there.
Global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies cooled very slightly (-0.011 deg C) in September, with similar declines in both hemispheres. However, the South Pacific, Indian and Arctic Ocean basins were the only ocean basins that cooled in September. The monthly Global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies are presently at +0.260 deg C.
(1) Global Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies
Monthly Change = -0.011 deg C
(2) NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies
Monthly Change = -0.305 deg C
THE EAST PACIFIC VERSUS THE REST OF THE WORLD
The East Pacific and the Rest-Of-The-World (Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific) datasets were first discussed in the post Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies – East Pacific Versus The Rest Of The World, and was discussed a few months later inHow Can Things So Obvious Be Overlooked By The Climate Science Community?
It was also discussed in great detail in my recently published book Who Turned on the Heat? The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño-Southern Oscillation. The Updated Free Preview includes the Table of Contents; the Introduction; the beginning of Section 1, with the cartoon-like illustrations; the discussion About the Cover; and the Closing. Also see the blog post Everything You Every Wanted to Know about El Niño and La Niña… for an overview. The book is only US$8.00. Please buy a copy. (Paypal or Credit/Debit Card).
In the following two graphs, both datasets have been adjusted for the impacts of volcanic aerosols. The global oceans were divided into these two subsets to illustrate two facts. First, the linear trend of the volcano-adjusted East Pacific (90S-90N, 180-80W) Sea Surface Temperature anomalies since the start of the Reynolds OI.v2 dataset is basically flat. That is, the East Pacific hasn’t warmed in 30+ years. The East Pacific is not a small region. It represents about 33% of the surface area of the global oceans. The East Pacific linear trend varies very slightly with each monthly update. But it won’t vary significantly between El Niño and La Niña events.
(3) Volcano-Adjusted East Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies
And second, the volcano-adjusted Sea Surface Temperature anomalies for the Rest of the World (90S-90N, 80W-180) rise in very clear steps, in response to the significant 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Niño/La Niña events. It also appears as though the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies of this dataset may have made another upward shift in response to the 2009/10 El Niño and 2010/11 La Niña events. For those who are interested in the actual trends of the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies between the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Niño events and between the 1997/98 and 2009/10 El Niño events refer to Figure 4 in Does The Sea Surface Temperature Record Support The Hypothesis Of Anthropogenic Global Warming? I further described (at an introductory level) the ENSO-related processes that cause these upward steps in the post ENSO Indices Do Not Represent The Process Of ENSO Or Its Impact On Global Temperature. And as noted above, it is discussed in detail in my recently published book Who Turned on the Heat? The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño-Southern Oscillation.
(4) Volcano-Adjusted Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies For The Rest of the World
The periods used for the average Rest-Of-The-World Sea Surface Temperature anomalies between the significant El Niño events of 1982/83, 1986/87/88, 1997/98, and 2009/10 are determined as follows. Using the original NOAA Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) for the official months of those El Niño events, I shifted (lagged) those El Niño periods by six months to accommodate the lag between NINO3.4 SST anomalies and the response of the Rest-Of-The-World Sea Surface Temperature anomalies, then deleted the Rest-Of-The-World data that corresponds to those significant El Niño events. I then averaged the Rest-Of-The-World SST anomalies between those El Niño-related gaps.
The “Nov 2010 to Present” average varies with each update. As noted in the post Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies – East Pacific Versus The Rest Of The World, it will be interesting to see where that Sea Surface Temperature anomaly average settles out, if it does, before the next significant El Niño drives them higher.
Of course, something could shift. Will the upward ratcheting continue when the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) decides to turn around and start its decline? The upward steps would not continue in the North Atlantic, but would the AMO impact the upward steps in other portions of the globe? For more information about the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, refer to the post An Introduction To ENSO, AMO, and PDO — Part 2.
The Sea Surface Temperature anomalies of the East Pacific Ocean, or approximately 33% of the surface area of the global oceans, have decreased slightly since 1982 based on the linear trend. And between upward shifts, the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies for the rest of the world (67% of the global ocean surface area) remain relatively flat. As discussed in my book, anthropogenic forcings are said to be responsible for most of the rise in global surface temperatures over this period, but the Sea Surface Temperature anomaly graphs of those two areas prompt a two-part question: Since 1982, what anthropogenic global warming processes would overlook the Sea Surface Temperatures of 33% of the global oceans and have an impact on the other 67% but only during the months of the significant El Niño events of 1986/87/88, 1997/98 and 2009/10?
STANDARD NOTE ABOUT THE DATA
The MONTHLY graphs illustrate raw monthly OI.v2 SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE anomaly data from November 1981 to September 2012, as it is presented by the NOAA NOMADS website linked at the end of the post. I’ve added the 13-month running-average filter to smooth out the seasonal variations.
MONTHLY INDIVIDUAL OCEAN AND HEMISPHERIC SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE UPDATES
(5) Northern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies
Monthly Change = -0.009 deg C
(6) Southern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies
Monthly Change = -0.012 deg C
(7) North Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies
(0 to 70N, 80W to 0)
Monthly Change = +0.003 deg C
(8) South Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies
(0 to 60S, 70W to 20E)
Monthly Change = +0.047 deg C
Note: I discussed the (now apparently temporary) upward shift in the South Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature anomalies in the post The 2009/10 Warming Of The South Atlantic. Prior to that shift, the South Atlantic sea surface temperature anomalies had been relatively flat for about two decades. It looks as though the South Atlantic sea surface temperature anomalies are returning to the level they were at before that surge, and where they had been since the late 1980s. We’ll have to see where things settle.
(9) North Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies
(0 to 65N, 100E to 90W)
Monthly Change = +0.029 Deg C
(10) South Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies
(0 to 60S, 120E to 70W)
Monthly Change = -0.019 deg C
(11) Indian Ocean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies
(60S to 30N, 20E to 120E)
Monthly Change = -0.059 deg C
(12) Arctic Ocean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies
(65N to 90N)
Monthly Change = -0.036 deg C
(13) Southern Ocean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies
Monthly Change = +0.013 deg C
WEEKLY SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES
The NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature anomalies based on the week centered on October 3, 2012 dropped back down below the threshold of “official” El Niño conditions. They are presently at +0.215 deg C.
(14) Weekly NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies
The weekly global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies appear as though they may have peaked, at least temporarily. They are at +0.253 deg C.
(15) Weekly Global Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies
INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE EL NIÑO AND LA NIÑA AND THEIR LONG-TERM EFFECTS ON GLOBAL SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES?
Why should you be interested? The sea surface temperature record indicates El Niño and La Niña events are responsible for the warming of global sea surface temperature anomalies over the past 30 years, not manmade greenhouse gases. Scroll back up to the discussion of the East Pacific versus the Rest of the World. I’ve searched sea surface temperature records for more than 4 years, and I can find no evidence of an anthropogenic greenhouse gas signal. That is, the warming of the global oceans has been caused by Mother Nature, not anthropogenic greenhouse gases.
I’ve recently published my e-book (pdf) about the phenomena called El Niño and La Niña. It’s titled Who Turned on the Heat? with the subtitle The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño Southern Oscillation. It is intended for persons (with or without technical backgrounds) interested in learning about El Niño and La Niña events and in understanding the natural causes of the warming of our global oceans for the past 30 years. Because land surface air temperatures simply exaggerate the natural warming of the global oceans over annual and multidecadal time periods, the vast majority of the warming taking place on land is natural as well. The book is the product of years of research of the satellite-era sea surface temperature data that’s available to the public via the internet. It presents how the data accounts for its warming—and there are no indications the warming was caused by manmade greenhouse gases. None at all.
Who Turned on the Heat? was introduced in the blog post Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about El Niño and La Niña… …Well Just about Everything. The Updated Free Preview includes the Table of Contents; the Introduction; the beginning of Section 1, with the cartoon-like illustrations; the discussion About the Cover; and the Closing.
Please buy a copy. (Paypal or Credit/Debit Card). It’s only US$8.00.
You’re probably asking yourself why you should spend $8.00 for a book written by an independent climate researcher. There aren’t many independent researchers investigating El Niño-Southern Oscillation or its long-term impacts on global surface temperatures. In fact, if you were to perform a Google image search of NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies, the vast majority of the graphs and images are from my blog posts. Try it. Cut and paste NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomaliesinto Google. Click over to images and start counting the number of times you see Bob Tisdale.
By independent I mean I am not employed in a research or academic position; I’m not obligated to publish results that encourage future funding for my research—that is, my research is not agenda-driven. I’m a retiree, a pensioner. The only funding I receive is from book sales and donations at my blog. Also, I’m independent inasmuch as I’m not tied to consensus opinions so that my findings will pass through the gauntlet of peer-review gatekeepers. Truth be told, it’s unlikely the results of my research would pass through that gauntlet because the satellite-era sea surface temperature data contradicts the tenets of the consensus.
The Sea Surface Temperature anomaly data used in this post is available through the NOAA NOMADS website: