April 2014 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomaly Update

THE EQUATORIAL PACIFIC

For all intents and purposes, the weekly sea surface temperature anomalies across the entire central and eastern equatorial Pacific have reached El Niño conditions with an anomaly in excess of +0.5 deg C, including the NINO1+2 region in the far eastern tropical Pacific, which is showing an anomaly for the week centered on April 30th of 0.86 deg C.  The only holdout is the NINO3.4 region, but it’s within whispering distance.   Keep in mind, last year, the equatorial Pacific fluctuated back and forth between positive and negative anomalies, and that 8 weeks ago the eastern equatorial Pacific was experiencing La Niña-like conditions.  NINO3.4 region sea surface temperature anomalies have increased about 1.0 deg C in those 8 weeks in response to westerly wind bursts and the Kelvin wave.

The NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature anomalies based on the week centered on April 30, 2014 are still just below the +0.5 deg C threshold of El Nino conditions.  They are presently at +0.46 deg C.

15 Weekly NINO3.4 SSTa

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

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.We present NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies in monthly and weekly formats in these updates.

The values for the other primary NINO regions are listed below, from west to east:

  • NINO4 (5S-5N, 160E-150W) = +0.80
  • NINO3 (5S-5N, 150W-90W) = +0.58
  • NINO1+2 (10S-0, 90W-80W) = +0.86

MONTHLY SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALY MAP

The following is a Global map of Reynolds OI.v2 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies for April 2014.  It was downloaded from the NOMADS website. The contour levels are set at 0.5 deg C, and white is set at zero.

00 Map

April 2014 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies Map

(Global SST Anomaly = +0.30 deg C)

MONTHLY OVERVIEW

Monthly NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies warmed considerably last month, about +0.37 deg C. They are presently above zero but not yet warmer than the +0.5 deg C threshold of El Niño conditions.  But I suspect we’ll see them close to or above that threshold next month. See the NOAA weekly ENSO update here.

Global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies rose a good amount last month, an increase of about +0.07 deg C from March to April…with the warming in both hemispheres.  Only one ocean basin showed cooling in April—the Arctic, and it was only a slight cooling.

It may appear as though global sea surface temperatures are responding early to the formation of an El Niño, but keep in mind that the eastern equatorial Pacific was near La Niña conditions only two months ago. See the February 2014 update. So I suspect that’s the reason for this seemingly early response. The monthly Global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies are presently at +0.305 deg C.

01 Global SSTa

(1) Global Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

Monthly Change = +0.070 deg C

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02 NINO3.4 SSTa

(2) NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

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

Monthly Change = +0.371 deg C

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

THE EAST PACIFIC VERSUS THE REST OF THE WORLD

NOTE: This section of the updates will be revised next month.  The East Pacific subset will remain, but the Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific subset will be subdivided.  The North Atlantic will be isolate from the South Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific for two reasons. First, the North Atlantic data are governed by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, and we’ll monitor it separately (we already do) to determine how it responds to the upcoming El Niño. Second, the sea surface temperature data for the South Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific subset are directly influenced by the left over warm waters from strong El Niños, like the ones in 1986/87/88 and 1997/98.  If there is a strong El Niño in the 2014/15 ENSO season, the South Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific subset may make another upward step in response.  I want to write a post to further detail those subdivisions of the global data to have it as a reference for the updates.

Back to your regularly scheduled update:

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 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, recently lowered to US$5.00. Please click here to buy a copy. (Paypal or Credit/Debit Card.  You do not need to open a PayPal account.)

The global oceans were divided into these two subsets to illustrate a couple of facts. First, the linear trend of the East Pacific (90S-90N, 180-80W) Sea Surface Temperature anomalies since the start of the Reynolds OI.v2 dataset is so low it’s basically flat. (Note that the region also includes portions of the Arctic and Southern Oceans.) That is, there has been little to no warming of sea surface temperatures on the East Pacific (from pole to pole) in 32 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.

03 East Pac SSTa

(3) East Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

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

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

And second are the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies for the Rest of the World (90S-90N, 80W-180).  This region includes the Atlantic Indian and West Pacific Oceans, with the corresponding portions of the Arctic and Southern Oceans.  Sea surface temperatures there warmed 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 April 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 ebook Who Turned on the Heat? The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño-Southern Oscillation.

04 Atl-Ind-W Pac SSTa

(4) Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies For The Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific Oceans

(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 shown little to no long-term warming 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 April 2014, 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

05 N Hem SSTa (5) Northern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

Monthly Change = +0.071 deg C

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

06 S Hem SSTa (6) Southern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

Monthly Change = +0.069 deg C

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

07 N Atl SSTa

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

(0 to 70N, 80W to 0)

Monthly Change = +0.016 deg C

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

08 S Atl SSTa

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

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

Monthly Change = +0.018 deg C

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

09 Pac SSTa

(9) Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

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

Monthly Change = +0.070 Deg C

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

10 N Pac SSTa (10) North Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

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

Monthly Change = +0.075 Deg C

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

11 S Pac SSTa

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

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

Monthly Change = +0.112 deg C

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

12 Ind SSTa

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

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

Monthly Change = +0.162 deg C

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

13 Arc SSTa

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

(65N to 90N)

Monthly Change = -0.026 deg C

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

14 Southern SSTa

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

(90S-60S)

Monthly Change = +0.016 deg C

WEEKLY SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES

Weekly global sea surface temperature anomalies continued the upward climb and are now at +0.32 deg C.

16 Weekly Global SSTa

(16) Weekly Global Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

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

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT HOW AND WHY THE GLOBAL OCEANS INDICATE THEY’VE WARMED NATURALLY?

Why should you be interested?  The hypothesis of manmade global warming depends on manmade greenhouse gases being the cause of the recent warming. But 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 32 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 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). You do not need to have a PayPal account. Simply scroll down to the “Don’t Have a PayPal Account” purchase option. It’s now sale priced at US$5.00.

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=

 

 

 

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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.
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12 Responses to April 2014 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomaly Update

  1. Thanks, Bob. It sure looks like he’s coming soon, El Niño, I mean.

  2. Arska says:

    Hello Bob

    As the Nino 3.4 temperatures has now risen to the threshold level for El Nino, it is time to check my Elnino strenght predictor (I updated UAH MSU NH dataset with latest anomaly: +0,34) :

    ElNino_alarmdataset.JPG

    It seems that this El Nino is going to be weak one..

  3. Bob Tisdale says:

    Arska, while I would like to study a strong El Nino, I hope you’re right and it’s a weak one.

  4. hesligus says:

    I have been interested in Climate Change and see myself as a sceptic/luke warmer. That is I think increasing CO2 may well cause some warming trend but that there is no clear evidence that it will be very significant and dangerous to people.
    I have been interested in the information on your website for some time and find it very informative. I have recently shown it to a number of people who disagree with my views in this area and they were surprised that see surface temperatures had not gone up more over the last 30 years. Thanks for your efforts.

  5. entropicman says:

    32 years of warming due to El Nino?

    Where did the extra energy come from?

  6. Bob Tisdale says:

    entropicman, if you’ve asked that question, then you do not understand El Nino and La Nina events. Kevin Trenberth provides the answer to your question in two papers. See Trenberth et al. (2002):
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/papers/2000JD000298.pdf

    There, they write:
    “The negative feedback between SST and surface fluxes can be interpreted as showing the importance of the discharge of heat during El Niño events and of the recharge of heat during La Niña events. Relatively clear skies in the central and eastern tropical Pacific allow solar radiation to enter the ocean, apparently offsetting the below normal SSTs, but the heat is carried away by Ekman drift, ocean currents, and adjustments through ocean Rossby and Kelvin waves, and the heat is stored in the western Pacific tropics. This is not simply a rearrangement of the ocean heat, but also a restoration of heat in the ocean.”

    And there’s Trenberth and Fasullo (2011):
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/staff/trenbert/trenberth.papers/ISSI_fulltext.pdf

    They write:
    “Typically prior to an El Niño, in La Niña conditions, the cold sea waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific create high atmospheric pressure and clear skies, with plentiful sunshine heating the ocean waters. The ocean currents redistribute the ocean heat which builds up in the tropical western Pacific Warm Pool until an El Niño provides relief (Trenberth et al. 2002).”

    Thus my repeated characterization of ENSO as a chaotic, sunlight-fueled, coupled ocean-atmosphere, recharge-discharge oscillator, with El Niño acting as the discharge mode and La Niña acting as the recharge and redistribution modes.

  7. entropicman says:

    You describe ENSO as a recharge-disharge oscillator.

    This would show zero overall energy change over one or more cycles. Yet you claim that ENSO has been pumping enough energy from the ocean to the atmosphere to drive the last 32 years of warming. Your hypothesis is thermodynamically impossible

  8. Bob Tisdale says:

    entropicman, your assumptions blind you. Your statement, “This would show zero overall energy change over one or more cycles,” confirms this. Why do you insist that there is a zero energy change with a recharge-discharge oscillator? First, you’re assuming that the recharge and discharge balance one another, while the ocean heat content data for the tropical Pacific do not support this. Second, you’re also not accounting for the discharge, are you? In other words, you’re not accounting for the warm water released by the El Nino that wasn’t consumed by the El Nino.

    Additionally, I haven’t presented a hypothesis. I’ve presented data. And there’s nothing thermodynamically impossible about it.

    Go study ENSO for a couple of years and then come back and visit. You’re simply regurgitating arguments that were addressed years ago.

  9. entropicman says:

    The global climate system (land,air,ice and ocean) has been accumulating energy at ~ 1022J/year since the 1970s. This matches the measured uptake due to the imbalance of 0.7W/m^2 at the TOA.

    ENSO has been cycling at a rate shorter than one decade, with no indication that it has been a net long term absorber of energy on anything like this scale.

    Fundamentally a quasi-decadal cycle is a zero-sum process in energy terms. It cannot explain a long term warming trend.

    If you could demonstrate that there was 3*10^23J more energy stored in the Pacific thirty years ago, than at present, which has been released, over that period, then I might take you more seriously. Your collection of sea surface temperatures tells very little about the energy flows involved. Let’s see a proper energy budget.

  10. Bob Tisdale says:

    entropicman, you’re overlooking my posts on ocean heat content. How convenient for you!

    And since you didn’t follow my advice that you should go study ENSO for a few years and then come back, I’ll bid you good-bye. If you’d have come hear to learn, I would have been more than willing to answer your questions. But since you’ve come here with worn-out arguments that simply herald your ignorance of the topics being discussed, you’re no longer welcome. I don’t have time to waste with you.

    If you’d like to learn, start here:
    http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/the-manmade-global-warming-challenge.pdf

    I believe, since you have expressed no interest in learning, you’ll find your future comments landing in the spam filter here. You’re obviously willing to waste your own time scribbling down your failed arguments based on your flawed beliefs; but I have no intention of letting you waste any more of my time.

    Adios

  11. Pingback: Antarctic Temperature Trends | NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

  12. Pingback: Antarctica: No Warming Since 1979 | The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)

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