>August 2010 SST Anomaly Update


The map of Global OI.v2 SST anomalies for August 2010 downloaded from the NOMADS website is shown below. The central equatorial Pacific SST anomalies are continuing their drop.

August 2010 SST Anomalies Map (Global SST Anomaly = +0.22 deg C)


Monthly NINO3.4 SST anomalies are well below the -0.5 deg C threshold of a La Niña. The Monthly NINO3.4 SST Anomaly is -1.2 deg C. Weekly data has dropped below -1.5 deg C (-1.58 deg C).

Global SST anomalies dropped very little this month, -0.006 deg C. For all intents and purposes, there was no change. The slight decline in the Southern Hemisphere (-0.022 deg C) was greater than the rise in the Northern Hemisphere (+0.014 deg C).
Monthly Change = -0.006 deg C
NINO3.4 SST Anomaly
Monthly Change = -0.22 deg C


The SST anomalies in the East Indian and West Pacific made a slight rise this month. Will they continue to rise, noticeably, in response to the La Niña as they have in the past?

I’ve added this dataset in an attempt to draw attention to what appears to be the upward step responses. Using the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Niño 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.
East Indian-West Pacific (60S-65N, 80E-180)
Monthly Change = +0.029 deg C

Further information on the upward “step changes” that result from strong El Niño events, refer to my posts from a year ago Can El Niño Events Explain All of the Global Warming Since 1976? – Part 1 and Can El Niño 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 Niña Events Recharge The Heat Released By El Niño 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 Niño & La Niña Events

The animations included in post La Niña Is Not The Opposite Of El Niño – The Videos further help explain the reasons why East Indian and West Pacific SST anomalies can rise in response to both El Niño and La Niña events.


The MONTHLY graphs illustrate raw monthly OI.v2 SST anomaly data from November 1981 to August 2010.

Northern Hemisphere
Monthly Change = +0.014 deg C
Southern Hemisphere
Monthly Change = -0.022 deg C
North Atlantic (0 to 75N, 78W to 10E)
Monthly Change = +0.120 deg C
South Atlantic (0 to 60S, 70W to 20E)
Monthly Change = -0.120 deg C

Note: I discussed the upward shift in the South Atlantic SST anomalies in the post The 2009/10 Warming Of The South Atlantic.

North Pacific (0 to 65N, 100 to 270E, where 270E=90W)
Monthly Change = -0.030 Deg C
South Pacific (0 to 60S, 145 to 290E, where 290E=70W)
Monthly Change = -0.036 deg C
Indian Ocean (30N to 60S, 20 to 145E)
Monthly Change = +0.023 deg C
Arctic Ocean (65 to 90N)
Monthly Change = +0.137 deg C
Southern Ocean (60 to 90S)
Monthly Change = +0.044 deg C


The weekly NINO3.4 SST anomaly data illustrate OI.v2 data centered on Wednesdays. The latest weekly NINO3.4 SST anomalies are -1.158 deg C.
Weekly NINO3.4 (5S-5N, 170W-120W)

Weekly NINO3.4 SST anomalies are now lower than the values for the same week during the previous transitions to major satellite-era La Niña events.
La Niña Evolution Comparison


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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24 Responses to >August 2010 SST Anomaly Update

  1. Anonymous says:

    >Thanks for the update. You plotted the North Pacific twice, tho.

  2. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Thanks, Anonymous. I repaired that and I fixed the weekly NINO3.4 graph.

  3. John says:

    >Hi Bob -It may be my eyes, but for the first graph (global SST), the line looks like it terminates at about .22c instead of the .25c that is this month's anomaly. Am I crazy?

  4. Bob Tisdale says:

    >John wrote, "It may be my eyes, but for the first graph (global SST), the line looks like it terminates at about .22c instead of the .25c that is this month's anomaly."John, what's the source of a 0.25 deg C global SST anomaly for Reynolds OI.v2 data? I just double checked the NOMADS website and it gave 0.22164 deg C for an anomaly.

  5. John says:

    >Under the OIv2 map at the top of your post, you list the anomaly as "August 2010 SST Anomalies Map (Global SST Anomaly = +0.25 deg C)":)

  6. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Thanks, John. Corrected that, too.

  7. Pascvaks says:

    >The more I look at these graphs it looks (to me;-) that the GOC (?Global Ocean Conveyor) is having spits and spurts moving heat hither and yon. Am I anywhere close?

  8. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Pascvaks: Isn't the ocean conveyor belt supposed to have a timescale in terms of millenia?

  9. Pascvaks says:

    >Guess so Bob. But there sure seems to be little stops and goes in the short term, moving global heat around. Do we have a fairly good picture of the GOC and what it's doing from month to month, year to year. I'm not aware of it, but would think we ought to by this day and age.

  10. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Pascvaks: I do a post on OHC when the NODC updates their dataset:http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/06/january-to-march-2010-nodc-ocean-heat.htmlIn it, there are links to the posts that discuss the natural impacts on OHC. You'll find them under the heading of "Big Ifs".

  11. John says:

    >Hi Bob -I was wondering if you could point me to two (related) pieces of information. I'm trying to understand certain pro-AGW arguments and how your thoughts relate to them. 1. I've read your descriptions of how pro-AGW people argue SST are supposed to incorporate the greenhouse effect – basically a turning-over of that small layer of water affected at the top of the surface. Is that really the only way? Do you happen to have any source with more detail? It just seems rather far-fetched.2. I've read comments in news stories in the past that discuss how the ocean is "slow" to absorb temperature changes and even if we stopped GHG emissions today, the ocean would continue to warm and sea levels rise. Why is that? I am not familiar with the reasons thermal expansion would continue.Thanks so much.

  12. John says:

    >Sorry for the followup – should have included this in my first post.Has anyone made the argument and shown that GHG emissions have caused a decrease in cloud cover, thus leading to more solar radiation hitting the ocean, causing the warming?

  13. Bob Tisdale says:

    >John, regarding your question 1, one of the skeptical arguments against greenhouse gases and the ocean is that greenhouse gases only warm the top few millimeters of the oceans and that heat is released as evaporation. I used the argument at Lucia’s recently looking for responses. Nick Stokes provided one of the best I’ve seen to date. Refer to:http://rankexploits.com/musings/2010/hadley-giss-july-cooler-cooler/#comment-51229 and http://rankexploits.com/musings/2010/hadley-giss-july-cooler-cooler/#comment-51231 And there’s my reply:http://rankexploits.com/musings/2010/hadley-giss-july-cooler-cooler/#comment-51278 Question 2: I believe it has to do with the persistence of CO2 in the atmosphere, which would keep the radiative forcing intact for decades more.Your third question: “Has anyone made the argument and shown that GHG emissions have caused a decrease in cloud cover, thus leading to more solar radiation hitting the ocean, causing the warming?” Isn’t that part of the argument and confusion about feedbacks? The increase in greenhouse gases are supposed to change the makeup of cloud cover, which amplifies the assumed effects of greenhouse gases. However, recent papers are pointing to negative feedbacks, not positive as required by the AGW hypothesis.

  14. John says:

    >Hi Bob -Thanks for the links – I have to admit Nick Stokes' response is a touch over my head, but I believe I understand the basics. You'd think, with the use of something like the tanks they use to test large boats, they could at least make an approximate test and see how water integrates changes similar to those produced by changes in co2.

  15. Pascvaks says:

    >Ref above – September 8, 2010 3:17 PMThanks for the recommendation. Went to referenced article and took a close look at the graphs there. Seems you can guage GOC via your graphs, I went from your So Pacific, to No Pacific, to Indian, to So Atlantic, to No Atlantic, to Arctic graph, and the shift via the GOC in temps stands out. The temps go with the flow;-)

  16. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Pascvaks said: "Seems you can guage GOC via your graphs…"You can? Feel free to mark up the graphs and write up something that explains what you're seeing. You wrote, "The temps go with the flow"OHC is not temperature.

  17. Pascvaks says:

    >Sorry for the mistake about 'temp' should have said 'OHC'. Using the graphs in sequence as the GOC moves around the globe, rises and dips in heat can be noted and followed. A ‘blip’ that is happening now in the South Pacific will soon be in the North Pacific. What is now in the South Atlantic will be in the North Atlantic, etc..(Don't have your education and experience in this area, you and others in the field have probably got a complicated explanation for what I think I'm seeing. No offense. It ‘looks‘ like the rises and falls in the OHC graphs reflect incoming and outgoing ‘patches‘ from down wind (so to speak) on the GOC, and that there is also, perhaps, a way to gauge the speed-up and slow-down to the GOC using OHC or something much like it. Any of this babble make any sense? Be kind;-)

  18. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Pascvaks said: Are you seeing the differences in response times to ENSO or changes in sea level pressure, for example, and then atttributing that to ocean circulation. If you're seeing OHC circulating, why doesn't the sudden major shift in the North Pacific appear then in the other ocean basins in sequence?

  19. Pascvaks says:

    >Only noticing a discerable trend in falls and rises from one global position to the next, the strength varies, but the variation in OHC from one part of the globe to the next tracks with the GOC and it's all the way around the globe –or so it seems. For example, the So. Atlantic was last graphed as down and the No.Atlantic as up. The next phase in the No. will continue to be down as that's what's coming from the So. Atlantic.In the case of the No.Pacific (where it has a slight down tick now), the graph of the So. Pacific says that the No. Pacific will continue to fall.Any previous graph (in the GOC flow sequence) only gives a direction it seems, not an accurate scale. It tells what's coming next.The difference between the No. Pole and So. Pole graphs is more out of phase as the movement is from N to S, cold to colder, longer in distance and time, and very deep (not measured), but the difference between these also reflect the flow and the impact of anomolies received from the North.Am I making any sense?

  20. Pascvaks says:

    >Oh well. It look like there was something there. Didn't want to waste your time. All this is very interesting. Nex time I'll try to think a little more before I open my mouth;-0

  21. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Pascvaks: Don't take silence on my part as disagreement. If I could see what you're seeing, I'd be pleased, because then I could point it out to others. Unfortunately, I don't see what you're seeing. That doesn't mean it's not there.

  22. Pascvaks says:

    >Bob,Thanks. Maybe I can come up with something after I look a little harder at what I think I'm seeing. Maybe my biggest problem is that I don't know enough to ask an intelligent question;-)

  23. HR says:

    >http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20090916_globalstats.htmlBob,The above is a press release from NOAA. I thought this was you're area. Can you confirm the claims here are accurate?I looked at Climate Explorer, looking at ERSST v3b2 and Reynolds v2 SST and my amateur effort suggests that there have been warmer August global SST. I could easily be wrong. Do you know which data set they will be using?Thanks

  24. HR says:

    >Ahhh! I see my error the news report is dated 2009 :)Forget the above post.

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