>January 2011 SST Anomaly Update


The map of Global OI.v2 SST anomalies for January 2011 downloaded from the NOMADS website is shown below. There was a mix of variations in ocean basin SST anomalies this month. The Arctic, South Atlantic, and South Pacific rose; the rest fell. The result was a decrease in global SST anomalies (-0.033 deg C). They are presently at +0.067 deg C.

Note the pattern in the Pacific. It is not a typical La Niña pattern. Note also the elevated anomalies in mid-latitude South Atlantic and in the South Pacific, in what could be described as an extension of the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ).

January 2011 SST Anomalies Map (Global SST Anomaly = +0.067 deg C)


Monthly NINO3.4 SST anomalies are still varying at or near the seasonal low for this La Niña. The Monthly NINO3.4 SST Anomaly is -1.59 deg C.

The drop in Northern Hemisphere this month (-0. 060 deg C) is significantly larger than the Southern Hemisphere (-0.011 deg C). Globally, there was a healthy decline (-0.033 deg C).

Monthly Change = -0.033 deg C
NINO3.4 SST Anomaly
Monthly Change = -0.063 deg C


The SST anomalies in the East Indian and West Pacific took a major nose dive this month.

I’ve added this dataset in an attempt to draw attention to what appears to be the upward steps in response to significant El Niño events that are followed by La Niña events.

East Indian-West Pacific (60S-65N, 80E-180)
Monthly Change = -0.171 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 December 1981 to January 2011.


Northern Hemisphere
Monthly Change = -0.060 deg C
Southern Hemisphere
Monthly Change = -0.011 deg C
North Atlantic (0 to 75N, 78W to 10E)
Monthly Change = -0.002 deg C
South Atlantic (0 to 60S, 70W to 20E)
Monthly Change = +0.054 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. It does not appear as though the South Atlantic will return to the level it was at before that surge. That is, it appears to have made an upward step.

North Pacific (0 to 65N, 100 to 270E, where 270E=90W)
Monthly Change = -0.053 Deg C
South Pacific (0 to 60S, 145 to 290E, where 290E=70W)
Monthly Change = +0.021 deg C
Indian Ocean (30N to 60S, 20 to 145E)
Monthly Change = -0.135 deg C
Arctic Ocean (65 to 90N)
Monthly Change = +0.013 deg C
Southern Ocean (60 to 90S)
Monthly Change = -0.046 deg C


The weekly NINO3.4 SST anomaly data portray OI.v2 data centered on Wednesdays. The latest weekly NINO3.4 SST anomalies are -1.49 deg C.
Weekly NINO3.4 (5S-5N, 170W-120W)
The weekly global SST anomalies are at +0.080 deg C.
Weekly Global

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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4 Responses to >January 2011 SST Anomaly Update

  1. Doug Proctor says:

    >The Arctic SST:Since 1980, a temp rise of 0.54K has occurred (eyeballed, generous. A "known" volume of summer ice has melted, with a known cal/gram of solid-to-liquid energy input required. This could be calculated to reflect what must he involved if atmospheric heat is involved, then used to calculate the amount of heat transference in the Arctic during the melting season. That will give the excess air temperature in the Arctic required if CO2 (plus "feedback") is the primary reason.The math is beyond my comfort level, though it sounds simple. So, is this enough to account for all the sea-ice melting?

  2. Doug Proctor says:

    >The global oceanic temp anomalies would be the proportional sum of the various subsets herein graphed. The GISTemp record would be the oceanic + non-oceanic temp records. Subtracting one from the other will give the non-oceanic GISTemp component.With oceanic and non-oceanic subsets, an analysis of warming and cooling periods (such as the post 2008 cooling) reveal quite different time-responses. A calculation I did using UAH and GISTemp data suggests that after 2008 the oceans dropped 0.54K while the land portion dropped 2.8K. The thermal inertia of water being greater than that of land makes this reasonable, however the large land temp drop might be reflecting an UHIE uncorrected in the data.In cities it is clear that summer temps are greater than those in rural areas. In winter – I'm not so sure. The less insolation (and perhaps greater cloud cover) of urban winters relative to summer may lessen the UHIE.A further split of summer and winter cooling events in the GISTemp records of oceanic vs non-oceanic should show light on the UHIE. Within the continental USA the rural vs urban temperature records from summer to winter should also show the UHIE if the effect is greater in the summer than in the winter. I would think it would.

  3. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Doug Proctor said with respect to the Arctic SST anomalies: "So, is this enough to account for all the sea-ice melting?"One would also have to account for a number of other things like the changes in Arctic Ocean currents, shifts in the AO, and the atmospheric and oceanic transport of heat released during a period when El Nino events dominated.

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