>30+ Years of Ocean SSTs – January 1978 to July 2008


The following are graphs of SST anomalies from January 1978 to July 2008 for the:
North Atlantic
South Atlantic
North Pacific
South Pacific
Indian Ocean
Arctic Ocean
Southern Ocean

I found the following to be highlights:

– The absence of an immediate major reaction in the North Atlantic to the 97/98 El Nino.

– The flatness of the South Atlantic curve.

– The decline in North Pacific SST since 2005, though the PDO is said to have just recently “shifted”.

– The relative flatness of the South Pacific curve before the 97/98 El Nino and then the rise and fall afterwards.

– The saw-toothed step changes in Indian Ocean SST after the 82/83, 86/87/88, and 97/98 El Ninos.

– The 1990 peak in Arctic SSTs (not 2007 or 2008).

– The continuous decline in Southern Ocean SSTs since the mid 80s.

I haven’t yet discovered what day of the month the SST data on NOMADS are updated, but obviously, it’s by the 16th. I will attempt to revise them monthly.

North Atlantic (0 to 75N, 70W to 10E)

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

North Pacific (0 to 65N, 90 to 180W) & (0 to 65N, 100 to 180E)

South Pacific (0 to 60S, 70 to 180W) & (0 to 60S, 145 to 180E)

Indian Ocean (30N to 60S, 20 to 145E)

Arctic Ocean (65 to 90N)

Southern Ocean (60 to 90S)


Sea Surface Temperature Data is Smith and Reynolds Extended Reconstructed SST (ERSST.v2) available through the NOAA National Operational Model Archive & Distribution System (NOMADS).

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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