December 2012 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomaly Update

UPDATE:  I fixed the problem with the map.

HHHHHHHHHH

INITIAL NOTE

In the next day or two, I’ll be presenting a post with the annual sea surface temperature anomalies for each of the subsets shown below, along with the annual rankings according to sea surface temperature anomalies. In 2012, one of the basins was warmest out of 31 years; another ranked 26th out of 31 years. Any guesses? They should be easy.

MONTHLY SST ANOMALY MAP

The following is a Global map of Reynolds OI.v2 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies for December 2012. It was downloaded from the NOMADS website. The contour levels are set at 0.5 deg C, and white is set at zero.

0 Map

December 2012 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies Map

(Global SST Anomaly = +0.219 deg C)

MONTHLY OVERVIEW

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 they are the primary cause of the long-term warming of global sea surface temperatures over the past 30 years. See the discussion of the East Pacific versus the Rest-of-the-World that follows.

Monthly NINO3.4 sea surface temperatures dropped almost 0.5 deg C (cooling about -0.48 deg C) to -0.01 deg C. They’re well within El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-neutral conditions. Also refer to the discussion of the weekly NINO3.4 data near the bottom of the post.

Global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies cooled a little (-0.02 deg C) in December, with both hemispheres cooling. The North Pacific, Indian and Southern Ocean were the only basins that warmed in December. The monthly Global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies are presently at +0.219 deg C.

1 Global Monthly

(1) Global Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

Monthly Change = -0.024 deg C

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2 NINO3.4 Monthly

(2) NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

(5S-5N, 170W-120W)

Monthly Change = -0.481 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 were discussed a few months later in How Can Things So Obvious Be Overlooked By The Climate Science Community?

They were 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 click here to buy a copy. (Paypal or Credit/Debit Card. You do not need to open a PayPal account.)

In the following two graphs, both datasets have been adjusted for the impacts of volcanic aerosols. I’m considering eliminating the volcano adjustments, because they add very little to the discussion. In fact, some persons use those adjustments as an excuse to disregard the obvious.

The global oceans were divided into these two subsets to illustrate a couple of 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 East Pacific

(3) Volcano-Adjusted East Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(90S-90N, 180-80W)

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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 ROW

(4) Volcano-Adjusted Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies For The Rest of the World

(90S-90N, 80W-180)

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

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

Other than the East Pacific and Rest-of-the-World data shown immediately above, the MONTHLY graphs illustrate raw monthly OI.v2 sea surface temperature anomaly data from November 1981 to December 2012, as it is presented by the NOAA NOMADS website linked at the end of the post. NOAA uses the base years of 1971-2000 for this dataset. 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 No Hem

(5) Northern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

Monthly Change = -0.025 deg C

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

6 So Hem

(6) Southern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

Monthly Change = -0.024 deg C

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

7 No Atl

(7) North Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(0 to 70N, 80W to 0)

Monthly Change = -0.063 deg C

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

8 So Atl

(8) South Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(0 to 60S, 70W to 20E)

Monthly Change = -0.033 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, or have returned, 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 over the next couple of years.

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

9 Pac

(9) Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(60S to 65N, 120E to 80W)

Monthly Change = -0.028 Deg C

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

10 No Pac

(10) North Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(0 to 65N, 100E to 90W)

Monthly Change = +0.051 Deg C

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

11 So Pac

(11) South Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(0 to 60S, 120E to 70W)

Monthly Change = -0.078 deg C

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

12 Indian

(12) Indian Ocean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(60S to 30N, 20E to 120E)

Monthly Change = +0.053 deg C

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

13 Arctic

(13) Arctic Ocean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(65N to 90N)

Monthly Change = -0.048 deg C

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

14 Southern

(14) Southern Ocean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(90S-60S)

Monthly Change = +0.090 deg C

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

WEEKLY SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES

The NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature anomalies based on the week centered on January 2, 2012 are below zero, but not near La Niña conditions. They are presently at -0.229 deg C.

15 Weekly NINO

(15) Weekly NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

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

With the continued decrease, the weekly global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies appear as though they have peaked for the season. They are at +0.167 deg C. Will there be a short upturn in a lagged response to the earlier short upturn in the sea surface temperature of the equatorial Pacific.

16 Weely Global

(16) 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 copyCredit/Debit Card through PayPal.  You do NOT need to open a PayPal account. Simply scroll down to the “Don’t Have a PayPal Account” purchase option.  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 anomalies into 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.

DONATION/TIPS

Donations/tips are very much appreciated. Regardless of what you’ve heard, climate skeptics like me are not funded by big oil—but if big oil wants to donate a gazillion dollars, I’ll be happy to accept it.

SOURCES

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

http://nomad1.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh

or:

http://nomad3.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh?lite=

About Bob Tisdale

Research interest: the long-term aftereffects of El Niño and La Nina events on global sea surface temperature and ocean heat content. Author of the ebook Who Turned on the Heat? and regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat.
This entry was posted in SST Update. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to December 2012 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomaly Update

  1. Phil says:

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for putting all these data streams together. While I’m not sure I agree with all of your interpretations I appreciate the discussion and thought that it provokes.

    A clarification about the ‘cooling’ you mention above. This is referring to the SST anomalies (correct?). So although you note that the SST anomalies have ‘cooled’ there may be actual warming (if the climatological mean for that month increases more than they anomaly decreases).

    Phil.

  2. Bob Tisdale says:

    Phil says: “A clarification about the ‘cooling’ you mention above. This is referring to the SST anomalies (correct?).”

    Correct. We’re discussing anomalies against NOAA’s base period for this dataset of 1971-2000.

    Regards

  3. Lord Beaverbrook says:

    If solar cycle 24 is a longer cycle than normal with an extended even if much lower maximum could it change our climate?

    ‘Indeed, Gerald Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) presented persuasive evidence that solar variability is leaving an imprint on climate, especially in the Pacific. According to the report, when researchers look at sea surface temperature data during sunspot peak years, the tropical Pacific shows a pronounced La Nina-like pattern, with a cooling of almost 1o C in the equatorial eastern Pacific. In addition, “there are signs of enhanced precipitation in the Pacific ITCZ (Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone ) and SPCZ (South Pacific Convergence Zone) as well as above-normal sea-level pressure in the mid-latitude North and South Pacific,” correlated with peaks in the sunspot cycle.

    The solar cycle signals are so strong in the Pacific, that Meehl and colleagues have begun to wonder if something in the Pacific climate system is acting to amplify them. “One of the mysteries regarding Earth’s climate system … is how the relatively small fluctuations of the 11-year solar cycle can produce the magnitude of the observed climate signals in the tropical Pacific.” Using supercomputer models of climate, they show that not only “top-down” but also “bottom-up” mechanisms involving atmosphere-ocean interactions are required to amplify solar forcing at the surface of the Pacific.’

    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/08jan_sunclimate/

    Would that translate into sharper higher sunspot cycles producing periods of climate with more El Nino’s and flatter lower cycles producing periods of climate with more La Nina’s?

  4. Bob Tisdale says:

    Lord Beaverbrook says: “Would that translate into sharper higher sunspot cycles producing periods of climate with more El Nino’s and flatter lower cycles producing periods of climate with more La Nina’s?”

    With what you quoted, wouldn’t it be the other way around? “According to the report, when researchers look at sea surface temperature data during sunspot peak years, the tropical Pacific shows a pronounced La Nina-like pattern…”

    Unfortunately, “pattern” can mean “spatial pattern” or “pattern in time”. I hate vague words like that. They seem to be using it as a spatial pattern, though.

    They also do not say that there are El Nino-like patterns at solar minimum.

    In other words, I haven’t studied this, Lord Beaverbrook, in any depth. I took a cursory look four years ago, but couldn’t find anything concrete, extending back beyond 3 or 4 cycles.

    Regards

  5. Lord Beaverbrook says:

    Thanks Bob
    It was the link to El Nino like patterns at solar minimum that I was looking for really giving a relationship between the length of sunspot cycle below a certain UV level and the length of the cycle above that level having influence on periods of climate in the Pacific.
    As an example the current cycle solar max had been predicted for mid 2013 and cyclically 2012 was expected to produce an El Nino. To look at the graph in the following link and use the F10.7 plot as an indication of UV activity, it could be suggested that we have increased levels from early 2011.

    Compare that to NINO3.4 index and the expected cycle was broken by a double dip La Nina followed by a much weakened positive phase, that some were expecting to be an El Nino but didn’t materialise:

    If the F10.7 levels stay high for an extended time can we expect continued dampening of positive ENSO.

    Just thought you might have seen studies in this area previously, thanks anyway.

  6. Bob Tisdale says:

    Lord Beaverbrook: From what I’ve seen, the relationship breaks down as one travels back in time. It may seem to work recently, but unless the relationship can be extended back to the 1950s and earlier, it’s simply a coincidence of recent times.

    My research is primarily into the processes and aftereffects of ENSO.

    Regards

  7. Pingback: Untruths, Falsehoods, Fabrications, Misrepresentations | Bob Tisdale – Climate Observations

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