>March 2010 SST Anomaly Update

>MONTHLY SST ANOMALY MAP

The map of Global OI.v2 SST anomalies for March 2010 downloaded from the NOMADS website is shown below. Note the pattern of warm SST anomalies over the Southern part of the North Atlantic and cool SST anomalies in the Gulf of Mexico. If the pattern persisted through the summer months (big IF), how would it impact the hurricane season?

http://i42.tinypic.com/rur969.png
March 2010 SST Anomalies Map (Global SST Anomaly = +0.301 deg C)

Note: I was advised via email that the NOAA corrected the February OI.v2 SST data. It represents an upward change of only ~0.005 deg C globally, but since it was a correction in areas with sea ice, I decided to check those as well. The February Arctic Ocean SST anomalies rose ~0.02 deg C and the Southern Ocean SST anomalies ~0.03 deg C with the corrections.

MONTHLY OVERVIEW

There was a minor rise (0.012 deg C) this month in Global SST anomalies. SST Anomalies in both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres rose approximately the same amount. El Nino conditions remain in the central tropical Pacific (Monthly NINO3.4 SST Anomaly = +1.14 deg C and Weekly NINO3.4 SST Anomaly = +0.97 deg C), but SST anomalies there are dropping. Monthly NINO3.4 SST anomalies dropped 0.10 in March. The North Atlantic, Indian Ocean and the East Indian-West Pacific Ocean datasets all show significant rises this month. They are partly offset by the drops in the Pacific and South Atlantic.

http://i40.tinypic.com/4rav48.png
Global
Monthly Change = +0.012 deg C
############
http://i44.tinypic.com/24yvcrt.png
NINO3.4 SST Anomaly
Monthly Change = -0.104 deg C

EAST INDIAN-WEST PACIFIC

The SST anomalies in the East Indian and West Pacific continue their lagged rise in response to the El Nino. Will they also rise, noticeably, in response to the La Nina as they have in the past?

I’ve added this dataset in an attempt to draw attention to the upward step 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.

http://i41.tinypic.com/wsabg2.png
East Indian-West Pacific (60S-65N, 80E-180)
Monthly Change = +0.084 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

NOTE ABOUT THE DATA

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

MONTHLY INDIVIDUAL OCEAN AND HEMISPHERIC SST UPDATES
http://i42.tinypic.com/nn03rs.png
Northern Hemisphere
Monthly Change = +0.013 deg C
#####
http://i42.tinypic.com/2myrggz.png
Southern Hemisphere
Monthly Change = +0.011 deg C
#####
http://i40.tinypic.com/2mm6yw3.png
North Atlantic (0 to 75N, 78W to 10E)
Monthly Change = +0.120 deg C
#####
http://i41.tinypic.com/330679u.png
South Atlantic (0 to 60S, 70W to 20E)
Monthly Change = -0.007 deg C

Note: The 2009 upward shift in South Atlantic SST anomalies is becoming very obvious. I’ll have to work up a post about it. I have yet to see a paper that explains it.

#####
http://i42.tinypic.com/2eve0lk.png
North Pacific (0 to 65N, 100 to 270E, where 270E=90W)
Monthly Change = -0.058 Deg C
#####
http://i44.tinypic.com/2s180tw.png
South Pacific (0 to 60S, 145 to 290E, where 290E=70W)
Monthly Change = -0.033 deg C
#####
http://i40.tinypic.com/6i901z.png
Indian Ocean (30N to 60S, 20 to 145E)
Monthly Change = +0.082 deg C
#####
http://i40.tinypic.com/e002s4.png
Arctic Ocean (65 to 90N)
Monthly Change = -0.092 deg C
#####
http://i39.tinypic.com/dza246.png
Southern Ocean (60 to 90S)
Monthly Change = +0.120 deg C

WEEKLY NINO3.4 SST ANOMALIES

The weekly NINO3.4 SST anomaly data illustrate OI.v2 data centered on Wednesdays. The latest weekly NINO3.4 SST anomalies are +0.97 deg C. They’re working their way down.
http://i44.tinypic.com/2ll10ye.png
Weekly NINO3.4 (5S-5N, 170W-120W)

SOURCE

The Optimally Interpolated Sea Surface Temperature Data (OISST) are available through the NOAA National Operational Model Archive & Distribution System (NOMADS).
http://nomad1.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh
or
http://nomad3.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh

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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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22 Responses to >March 2010 SST Anomaly Update

  1. John says:

    >I wonder how much the S. Atlantic anomalies are due to the weak hurricane season last year.Unless this El Nino persists long enough to keep the shearing winds high enough to disrupt the hurricane development like it did last year, I don't see how this will be anything but a strong season. Those are some strong anomalies right in the center of the hurricane breeding grounds.

  2. Andrew says:

    >John, the South Atlantic anomalies linked to Hurricane activity? How's that? The South Atlantic Ocean has essentially zero Tropical Cyclone activity!http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/G6.html

  3. John says:

    >Ooops, my apologies.I meant the South Northern Atlantic. The part right off the coast of Africa.

  4. Andrew says:

    >Ah, the "Main Development Region", Okay, that clears that up.I think Gray is forecasting above average activity-historical analogues suggest that the El Nino probably won't persist much longer. But then again who knows.

  5. John says:

    >Hi Bob -A broader question. Not considering the source of the past few decades of El Nino's, is there any reason to think the process of Nino leading to step changes would not continue ad infinitum?Will it a take another pacific climate shift to stop the process from occuring?

  6. Bob Tisdale says:

    >John: You asked, "is there any reason to think the process of Nino leading to step changes would not continue ad infinitum?"Can't answer. I'm not sure of the interaction with other modes of variability, such as the AMO. You asked, "Will it a take another pacific climate shift to stop the process from occuring?"Dunno.

  7. Anonymous says:

    >By the way, how are behaving the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation(AMO)?And the Pacific Decadal Oscillation(PDO)?

  8. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Anonymous: You asked, “By the way, how are behaving the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation(AMO)?…And the Pacific Decadal Oscillation(PDO)?”This post presents SST anomalies for ocean basins, not climate indexes. But since you asked… It’s still too early for the updated AMO and PDO values for March 2010, so you’d have to check the links in a few days.The NAO for April 6 is positive:http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/pna/nao_index.htmlThe AMO is positive (February):http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/correlation/amon.us.long.dataThe PDO is positive (also a February value):http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo/PDO.latest

  9. Anonymous says:

    >Tnank you for the links, but:How I put these TXT data into an EXCEL table?(I want to do graphs to compare this year with 2005, the GISSTEMP record warm year and record-smashing hurricane season – AMO and hurricane activity are intimately linked)

  10. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Anonymous: You asked, “How I put these TXT data into an EXCEL table?”On the webpage, highlight the data you want to import, then copy and paste it into one cell in EXCEL. You’ll wind up with all of the data in that column. Highlight all of the rows in which the data appears in that column, then click on the “Data” tab, and select “Text to Columns.” Assuming that the data is not delimited, select “Fixed width”. The “preview window” should show the data you’re going to convert into the columns. Click on “Next”. The “Data preview” window should show "lines" between the columns of data. Click on “Next.” There are options for formatting. I don’t bother with any of that, but you may want to check out the options. Click on “Finish”.

  11. Anonymous says:

    >Since AMO is calculated from the area from 0-75N, the "El Nino"-like phenomenon on Atlantic affects the calculated AMO-value.You could summarize it as follows:- North Atlantic cool, "El Nino"-like phenomenon makes equator warm: AMO around zero- North Atlantic warm, "La Nina"-like phenomenon makes equator cool: AMO around zero- North Atlantic warm, "El Nino"-like phenomenon makes equator warm: AMO strongly positive- North Atlantic cool, "La Nina"-like phenomenon makes equator warm: AMO strongly negativeThus, Strongly positive AMO means that Atlantic is warm, but it's cooling and strongly negative AMO menas that Atlantic is cool, but it's warming. Value around zero does not tell you what the direction is.El Nino-like phenomenon on Atlantic is cooling it: warm water does not travel north and instead it's staying on equator and radiating to the space.On Indian ocean, there is also El Nino-like phenomenon going on. That's why it's so warm currently.

  12. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Anonymous (April 18, 2010 9:40 AM): The rises and falls of the North Atlantic SST anomalies and in turn the AMO are dictated by many other factors besides the Atlantic El Nino-like events. Thermohaline Circulation (THC)/Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) are responsible for the multidecadal variations. Changes in atmospheric circulation, resulting from El Nino and La Nina events in the tropical Pacific, cause short-term variations in North Atlantic SST anomalies. Also, there is an El Nino-like phenomenon in the tropical Atlantic. Refer to page 6 of Wang (2001) “Atlantic Climate Variability and Its Associated Atmospheric Circulation Cells”:http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/docs/wang_jc02_2.pdfThe ATL3 region SST anomalies have not reached the 0.7 deg C threshold of an “Atlantic El Nino” discussed in Wang (2001):http://i41.tinypic.com/105umqd.pngYou wrote, “Thus, Strongly positive AMO means that Atlantic is warm, but it's cooling and strongly negative AMO menas that Atlantic is cool, but it's warming. Value around zero does not tell you what the direction is.”Keep in mind that the AMO is detrended North Atlantic SST anomalies… http://i44.tinypic.com/qpqyox.png…so this generalization is not correct. You wrote, “El Nino-like phenomenon on Atlantic is cooling it: warm water does not travel north and instead it's staying on equator and radiating to the space.”Ocean circulation carries warm tropical waters toward the poles and at high latitudes it is better radiated to space.

  13. Anonymous says:

    >"The rises and falls of the North Atlantic SST anomalies and in turn the AMO are dictated by many other factors besides the Atlantic El Nino-like events. Thermohaline Circulation (THC)/Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) are responsible for the multidecadal variations. Changes in atmospheric circulation, resulting from El Nino and La Nina events in the tropical Pacific, cause short-term variations in North Atlantic SST anomalies."Patterns of long-time behavior in those El Nino/La Nina events are main causes of those multidecadal variations.Especially long-standing El Nino-like or La Nina-like events have significant effect on northern Atlantic heat content.3-year El Nino (and it's Atlantic cousing) in start of 1940s caused a significant drop in heat content. To me this situation looks very similar and my prediction is continuing El Nino for two more years.Short transition between El Nino/La Nina state does not have similar effect. It just moves the water around and – if possible – enhances transition of warm water to higher latitudes."Also, there is an El Nino-like phenomenon in the tropical Atlantic."Yes; that was my point in fact."Keep in mind that the AMO is detrended North Atlantic SST anomalies… "I don't trust SST data from the start of 1900s. Thus I think the real SST data and AMO are closer to each other than you might think."Ocean circulation carries warm tropical waters toward the poles and at high latitudes it is better radiated to space."While you are technically correct, remember that radiation is enhancer proportionally to the actual temperature. That's why the earth is warmer during El Nino.Actual temperatures on high latitude sea is still quite low and thus, the radiation is stronger when the warm water stays on equator.

  14. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Anonymous: You wrote, "Especially long-standing El Nino-like or La Nina-like events have significant effect on northern Atlantic heat content."Please identify the coordinates of the area of the equatorial or tropical Atlantic you are using to identify the "El Nino-like or La Nina-like events" in the Atlantic. That way I can plot the SST amomaly data and confirm what you're discussing.Thanks

  15. Anonymous says:

    >"Please identify the coordinates of the area of the equatorial or tropical Atlantic you are using to identify the "El Nino-like or La Nina-like events" in the Atlantic. That way I can plot the SST amomaly data and confirm what you're discussing."Between 20N – 0 and between 50W – 0.

  16. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Anonymous: The following are two comparison graphs of NINO3.4 SST anomalies versus the SST anomalies for the tropical North Atlantic coordinates you gave (0-20N, 50W-0). In the first, the NINO3.4 data is unadjusted. The year-to-year variations in the tropical North Atlantic are small by comparison. http://i39.tinypic.com/2wn44rr.pngThen if we scale the NINO3.4 data by multiplying it by a factor of 0.35, we can see that the major variations in the tropical North Atlantic follow the changes in NINO3.4 region, indicating those variations in the North Atlantic are aftereffects of the El Nino and La Nina events in the Pacific.http://i39.tinypic.com/11brjbp.png

  17. Anonymous says:

    >"Then if we scale the NINO3.4 data by multiplying it by a factor of 0.35, we can see that the major variations in the tropical North Atlantic follow the changes in NINO3.4 region, indicating those variations in the North Atlantic are aftereffects of the El Nino and La Nina events in the Pacific."You probably mean that they are effects of the same trade wind variations, which are the cause of El Nino/La Nina events?

  18. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Anonymous (April 22, 2010 2:29 PM): Refer to Wang (2005). That paper describes how sea surface temperatures can and do rise in response to El Nino events in areas of the global oceans remote to the tropical Pacific. It concentrates on the Tropical North Atlantic and the Western Hemisphere Warm Pool. Basically, the changes in sea surface temperature of the North Atlantic are responses to changes in atmospheric circulation caused by ENSO.http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/docs/Wang_Hadley_Camera.pdf

  19. Anonymous says:

    >"Basically, the changes in sea surface temperature of the North Atlantic are responses to changes in atmospheric circulation caused by ENSO."I don't agree with Wang. North Atlantic temperature changes are mainly caused by variations of trade winds, which causes variation to the warm water flow from equator to north Atlantic.Currently it is easy to see what is happening:http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/sst_anom-100418.gifObserve the cold anomaly from Gulf of Mexico to northeast. This is result of lesser strength in trade winds causing "El Nino"-like effect on equator (and thus warming it) and cold sea in as seen in satellite picture in north.Atmospheric circulation itself does not cause any noticeable changes to the sea temperatures at equator. Cause is the sun, which can warm the sea without wind moving the warm water to the north.Thus, El Nino does not affect trade winds – it's the trade winds that affects El Nino.

  20. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Anonymous: You replied, "I don't agree with Wang," and continued to present your opinions. Please support your opinions with data and graphs.

  21. Anonymous says:

    >"Please support your opinions with data and graphs."Enfield and Mayer 1997 has found the right reason for Atlantic equator temperature variations:http://europa.agu.org/?uri=/journals/jc/96JC03296.xml&view=articleSame is essentially described here (Wang et al 2005 http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/docs/wang_etal_2005_jcl_submitted.pdf):"As reviewed recently by Wang et al. (2004), a common feature of all three tropical oceans is for the Bjerknes’ positive ocean-atmosphere feedback to exist in all ocean basins. In the tropical Atlantic, the Bjerknes’ feedback mechanism results in the Atlantic Niño (Zebiak 1993) that is similar to the Pacific El Niño. The Atlantic Niños resemble their Pacific counterparts in that they involve the disappearance of the cold tongue of water along the equator (during the boreal summer), a surge of warm tropical water eastward and then southward along the southern coast of Africa, an anomalous reversal of direction of the equatorial trade winds, and shifts of atmospheric convection towards the anomalous warm water in the east. However,they are weaker and more frequent than the Pacific El Niños."On the other hand this paper has the cause and the effect wrong:http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/1520-0442%282000%29013%3C2177%3AIBTAVA%3E2.0.CO%3B2They even make a reference to the Enfield and Mayer paper above, but still don't even mention word "trade wind" in the paper.This Alexander at al paper shows correlation picture (figure 2), which are exact match of current situation (http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0442%282002%29015%3C2205%3ATABTIO%3E2.0.CO%3B2). See any current satellite picture and you can see the exactly the same as figure 2 shows on Atlantic currently.All other "Teleconnection"-related text in that paper – however – is pure garbage.ENSO is not the reason for Atlantic equator temperature changes; it's the trade winds.

  22. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Anonymous: Thanks for the links.You concluded your comment, “ENSO is not the reason for Atlantic equator temperature changes; it's the trade winds.”The variations in the Pacific trade winds and the corresponding El Niño/La Niña can alter the trade winds in the Atlantic. The Pacific dominates and causes changes in atmospheric circulation globally, including the tropical Atlantic. Tropical Atlantic SST anomalies rise in response to the 1997/98 El Niño. http://i46.tinypic.com/25km0d1.gif

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