>February 2010 SST Anomaly Update


The map of Global OI.v2 SST anomalies for February 2010 downloaded from the NOMADS website is shown below.
February 2010 SST Anomalies Map (Global SST Anomaly = +0.285 deg C)


Global SST anomalies continued to drop in small monthly increments. They dropped 0.008 deg C between January and February. SST Anomalies in both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres declined. The equatorial Pacific remains in El Nino conditions (Monthly NINO3.4 SST Anomaly = +1.24 deg C and Weekly NINO3.4 SST Anomaly = +1.14 deg C), but SST anomalies there are dropping. Monthly NINO3.4 SST anomalies dropped 0.27 in February, and weekly data NINO3.4 SST anomalies have dropped (-0.8 deg C) from their peak over the past ten weeks. The Indian Ocean and the East Indian-West Pacific Ocean datasets both show significant rises this month.
Monthly Change = -0.008 deg C
NINO3.4 SST Anomaly
Monthly Change = -0.31 deg C


The East Indian and West Pacific SST Anomalies are showing an increase. I’ve added this dataset in an attempt to draw attention to the atypical response. Using the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Nino events as references, East Indian-West Pacific SST Anomalies peak about 7 to 9 months after the peak of the NINO3.4 SST anomalies, so we shouldn’t expect any visible sign of a step change for almost 18 to 24 months. We’ll just have to watch and see. I’ve also revised the blocked question in the illustration to include “& 2010/11 La Nina”, since the rise would actually occur during, and be caused in part by, the La Nina event.
East Indian-West Pacific (60S-65N, 80E-180)
Monthly Change = +0.181 deg C

Further information on the upward “step changes” that result from strong El Nino events, refer to my posts from a year ago Can El Nino Events Explain All of the Global Warming Since 1976? – Part 1 and Can El Nino Events Explain All of the Global Warming Since 1976? – Part 2

And for the discussions of the processes that cause the rise, refer to More Detail On The Multiyear Aftereffects Of ENSO – Part 2 – La Nina Events Recharge The Heat Released By El Nino Events AND…During Major Traditional ENSO Events, Warm Water Is Redistributed Via Ocean Currents -AND- More Detail On The Multiyear Aftereffects Of ENSO – Part 3 – East Indian & West Pacific Oceans Can Warm In Response To Both El Nino & La Nina Events


The MONTHLY graphs illustrate raw monthly OI.v2 SST anomaly data from November 1981 to February 2009.

Northern Hemisphere
Monthly Change = -0.010 deg C
Southern Hemisphere
Monthly Change = -0.006 deg C
North Atlantic (0 to 75N, 78W to 10E)
Monthly Change = +0.063 deg C
South Atlantic (0 to 60S, 70W to 20E)
Monthly Change = -0.117 deg C
North Pacific (0 to 65N, 100 to 270E, where 270E=90W)
Monthly Change = -0.043 Deg C
South Pacific (0 to 60S, 145 to 290E, where 290E=70W)
Monthly Change = -0.158 deg C
Indian Ocean (30N to 60S, 20 to 145E)
Monthly Change = +0.203 deg C
Arctic Ocean (65 to 90N)
Monthly Change = -0.019 deg C
Southern Ocean (60 to 90S)
Monthly Change = +0.086 deg C


The weekly NINO3.4 SST anomaly data illustrate OI.v2 data centered on Wednesdays. The latest weekly NINO3.4 SST anomalies are +1.14 deg C, down 0.08 Deg C from a peak of 1.94 Deg C ten weeks ago.
Weekly NINO3.4 (5S-5N, 170W-120W)


The Optimally Interpolated Sea Surface Temperature Data (OISST) are 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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14 Responses to >February 2010 SST Anomaly Update

  1. John says:

    >Hi Bob -Any thoughts on why this Nino seems to be having such a strong impact on the UAH TLT record?The global sea surface temperatures and even the Nino peak are not all that different from 2003's El Nino, but the UAH measurements are far higher.Just curious if you had any thoughts.Thanks as always.

  2. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Hi, John, been a while. If we look at the UAH TLT anomalies (Version 5.3) they aren't unusually high. http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_Feb_10.jpgAlso, Global TLT anomalies responded very little to the 2002/03 El Nino, which makes the recent El Nino stand out. http://i45.tinypic.com/2lrl2b.pngBTW, that's a graph from an upcoming post. It's of RSS MSU TLT anomalies, not UAH. But neither really responded to that 2002/03 El Nino.Regards

  3. Bob Tisdale says:

    >John M: Eastern tropical Pacific (NINO1+2) SST anomalies never did rise sinificantly during the 2009/10 El Nino. This was more of a Central Pacific (NINO3.4) El Nino.http://i50.tinypic.com/68r5p1.pngRegards

  4. John says:

    >Work has been a bit crazy lately (which I guess it not a bad thing).I look forward to a post on SST/TLT. Definitely an interesting topic. I do find the similar trends for the two SST and TLT a much better match than overall surface temperatures and TLT. I definitely think it avoids the problems of urban heat, poor siting, adjustments, etc. I'm still curious why the South Atlantic has been so warm this year, but that's a topic for another day. That warm spot next to Africa seems to have been there forever. I wonder if it's related to the weak Hurrican season …

  5. Anonymous says:

    >What seem astounding to me is that recent UAH TLT anomalies are second only to the ones in 1998 Super El Niño.This El Niño, 2009-2010 is similar in magnitude to the ones in 1988, 1992 and 2002, but the atmospheric response is much bigger now than in all those years.The 1982 El Chichon neutralized the heat from 1982-1983 Super El Niño, and Pinatubo cooling far outweighted the heat from 1992-1993 strong (but short-lived) El Niño.But in 1987-1988 and 2002-2003 there were no big volcanos…… and to increase the mistery, the sun was near a maximum in 1988 and 2002, while now we are just beginning to exit the deepest minimum in nearly a century…What could be happening now that didn't happen in 1988 and 2002?

  6. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Anonymous (7:20PM): You expressed lots of opinions about UAH TLT anomalies that aren't verifiable without a comparison graph of TLT anomalies and scaled NINO3.4 SST anomalies. Also, you wrote, "…to increase the mistery, the sun was near a maximum in 1988 and 2002…", which is wrong in part. In 1988, the solar cycle was pretty close to minimum as well.http://www.icsu-fags.org/images/sidc002.jpgDo you have a link to a comparison graph of UAH TLT anomalies (version 5.3)and scaled NINO3.4 SST anomalies that's current, so we can verify your other comments? I normally don't post global TLT data, and this is a post about SST anomalies, so we can't use any of the graphs in this post. Also, you may want to read the following post if you're wondering why the TLT anomalies in the 2000s were warmer than in the 1990s and why the 1990s were warmer than the 1980s.http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/06/rss-msu-tlt-time-latitude-plots.htmlRegards

  7. John M says:

    >Bob Tisdale:"This was more of a Central Pacific (NINO3.4) El Nino."Thanks.Do you think it qualifies as a "Modoki"?http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090702140835.htmI know Judith Curry was focusing on the difference between Nino 3 and 4 at the time, but does lower temperature in 1 and 2 relate to the "new kind of El Nino" too? (Didn't seem to do much for hurricanes though.)

  8. Anonymous says:

    >Mr. Bob Tisdale:Where do you get that graph of solar cycle?This graphs show a maximum in 1988-1992, and also in 2000-2002: "Construction of a Composite Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) Time Series from 1978 to present"http://www.pmodwrc.ch/pmod.php?topic=tsi/composite/SolarConstantFor the UAH temperatures, I refer to this graphs:"February 2010 UAH Global Temperature Update: Version 5.3 Unveiled"http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/03/february-2010-uah-global-temperature-update-version-5-3-unveiled/http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/TLT_GL_v.5.2_vs_v5.3.pdfRegards,From Lima, Peru

  9. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Anonymous From Lima: I thought that was you. You need to create comparison graphs. If a person simply compares one graph to another, their eyes can play tricks. First, the solar cycle. There was nothing wrong sunspot number graph I provided. The 1986/87/88 El Nino occurred closer to Solar Min than to Solar Max. Here’s a graph from the page you linked with the 1986/87/88 El Nino timing marked on it.http://i41.tinypic.com/23vxi8n.pngThis is better seen with a comparison graph of NINO3.4 SST Anomalies and Scaled Sunspot Numbers:http://i42.tinypic.com/opd194.pngAnd then you had some questions about the global TLT response of this El Nino. If we scale the NINO3.4 SST anomalies by a factor of 0.21 and shift it upward by adding 0.12 to it, we can see in a comparison graph that the global TLT anomalies responded as one would expect to the 2009/10 El Nino, but not to the 2002/03 El Nino.http://i43.tinypic.com/wt99qr.pngAnd if we leave the scaling factor the same (0.21) and shift the NINO3.4 data down by subtracting 0.08, the Global TLT anomalies responded as expected to the 1986/87/88 El Nino.http://i39.tinypic.com/2lw7guc.pngSo the question is: why didn’t the Global TLT anomalies respond fully to the 2002/03 El Nino? This a problem that presents itself every time someone tries to remove the linear effects of ENSO from global temperatures. Global temperature does not respond the same for every El Nino. This was why Thompson et al left residuals. Refer to Figures 12 through 16 in the following post:http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/09/thompson-et-al-2009-high-tech-wiggle.htmlRegards

  10. Bob Tisdale says:

    >John M: You asked, “Do you think it qualifies as a ‘Modoki’?”Yup! Refer to the following graph of the El Nino Modoki Index through Dec 19, 2009:http://i44.tinypic.com/2lma1p0.pngAlso refer to the following post for the method used to create the El Nino Modoki Index and to show that there’s nothing new about El Nino Modoki:http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/07/there-is-nothing-new-about-el-nino.htmlAnd here’s a post that compares NINO3.4 and El Nino Modoki data:http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/07/comparison-of-el-nino-modoki-index-and.html

  11. d says:

    >I'd say one difference is there is now a net loss in ocean heat content. my 2c

  12. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Don B: Thanks for the link. I hadn't seen it.

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