PRELIMINARY May 2011 SST Anomaly Update

The May 2011 Reynolds OI.v2 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data through the NOAA NOMADS website won’t be official until next Monday, June 6th. Refer to the schedule on the NOAA Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface Temperature Analysis Frequently Asked Questionswebpage. The following are the preliminary Global and NINO3.4 SST anomalies for May 2011 that the NOMADS website prepares based on incomplete data for the month. I’ve also included the weekly data through May 25, 2011, but I’ve shortened the span of the weekly data, starting it in January 2004, so that the variations can be seen.


Based on the preliminary data Monthly NINO3.4 SST anomalies are at -0.36 deg C.

Monthly NINO3.4 SST Anomalies


The preliminary global SST anomaly is +0.136 deg C.

Monthly Global SST Anomalies



The weekly NINO3.4 SST anomalies for the week centered on May 25, 2011 are -0.20 deg C. They well within ENSO neutral range.

Weekly NINO3.4 SST Anomalies


Weekly Global SST Anomalies are presently at +0.133 deg C.

Weekly Global SST Anomalies



SST anomaly data is available through the NOAA NOMADS website:


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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16 Responses to PRELIMINARY May 2011 SST Anomaly Update

  1. Dr. Lurtz says:

    Posted to WUWT

    Dr. Lurtz says:
    June 1, 2011 at 8:36 am


    Could someone explain how the UniSys sst_anom.gif could rise by 2.0C in two days?? The specific region is at 45N 50W. That is an enormous volume of water and for that temperature rise; it would require gigawatts of heat input.

    Maybe Bob Tisdale could help.

  2. Bob Tisdale says:

    Dr. Lurtz: I gave up long ago trying to figure out why SST anomalies in specific spots rise and fall so sharply over the period of a couple of days. If we flip between today’s (June 1) UNISYS SST map…

    …and the one from May 29…

    …there was a significant rise at the location in the North Atlantic that you identified. But, if you swing North a bit to the Greenland coast, you can also see a drop in SST anomalies. There also appear to be decreases in SST anomalies in the “comma” pattern that runs around the eastern side of the hot spot. If I had to GUESS what causes those quick changes, I’d say changes in wind speed and direction, cloud cover, in other words, weather. Sorry I can’t give you a better answer.

    What I find curious is the intensifying negative anomalies in the western North Pacific.

  3. Fernando says:

    What I find curious is the intensifying negative anomalies in the western North Pacific.

    Sorry, OT.

    PDO Modoki??

  4. Bill Illis says:

    If you look at the higher resolution AMSE-R ocean SST maps, the warm spot in the North Atlantic mentioned above is mostly surrounding the Newfoundland and Labrador coast, above the Gulf Stream. Unisys is using some smoothing algorithm which actually misplaces the warm area a little. It is mainly on the coast above.

    This warm area has been there for the past few months since it normally has sea ice into April but there was very little this winter. So, the ocean is a little warmer than normal in the area. Generally, I see the North Atlantic cooling off.


    On the North Pacific cooling, I think Bob and I have discussed this before as a normal after-affect of the past La Nina. Some of the cooler water flows north-west and eventually enters the Kuroshio. The Pacific Warm Pool area is now the Pacific Cool Pool area. The Kuroshio at 150E, 40N is -5C in some places.

  5. IWCMI International Weather Control and Modification Inc. Jenabe Caldwell says:

    I need the SST for Baja California and the Gulf of Mexice for May 2011


  6. timetochooseagain says:

    Bob, this is not quite on topic, but I’m curious about how you calculate SST data for “rest of the world” excluding a particular region when doing analyses like this:

    Because I find the results of this for extracting AMO intriguing and would like to be able to calculate and use this “global effects removed” AMO in analysis.

  7. Bob Tisdale says:

    timetochooseagain: Thanks for the reminder about the Tamino AMO post. I have another post on the AMO planned that I’ll have to get back to preparing. Enough time has gone by that I’ll have to redo the graphs I’d already have created. That aside…

    I don’t believe the KNMI Climate Explorer allows users to mask a portion of the dataset, so the easiest way (for me) to create a Rest-of-the-World SST dataset is to scale the SST anomaly data of the portion you want to delete by the surface area of that portion, and then subtract that scaled data from the global SST anomalies. In the Tamino post, I had used a scaling factor of 0.15 for the North Atlantic, but that was an error on my part. The North Atlantic represents about 15% of the “Global” Ocean surface area when the Arctic and Southern Oceans are excluded, but when the all of the oceans are considered, the North Atlantic surface area is about 11.5% of the Global Ocean area. (That error on my part has little effect on that post, but I’ll make those corrections in the follow-up post.) So, to delete the North Atlantic from the global data, I would multiply the North Atlantic SST anomaly data by 0.115 and subtract that scaled data from the global SST anomalies.

  8. timetochooseagain says:

    Bob, thanks, that’s quite helpful!

  9. Paul Vaughan says:

    Bob, I’d be very curious to see what you can dig up if you start exploring pole-equator temperature contrasts (on an absolute scale, not anomaly) by region, by season, & by hemisphere. I’ve found a connection between your “step changes” and my work on solar cycle acceleration. I have insufficient time to elaborate, but I can add for any interested readers that this appears likely to also explain the ~1920-1940 Chandler wobble phase reversal [once lunisolar beats / QBO are taken into account].

  10. Bob Tisdale says:

    Paul Vaughan: Regarding tropics-to-poles temperature differences, I’ve got a backlog that’ll keep me busy for a few months. Hopefully, I can take a look in the not-to-distant future. I really need to get back to the North Atlantic and AMO. The AMO has been getting pushed to the back burner for so long I’m going to have to redo most of the graphs.

  11. Pingback: >LINKS TO SST ANOMALY UPDATES | Bob Tisdale – Climate Observations

  12. Earthling says:

    Dear Bob Tisdale,
    I really enjoy reading your articles, they’re desperately needed in the fight against science stupidity, but I’d really like to know who Bob Tisdale is and what makes him tick?
    Google searches produce zero results, apart from links to your articles and website.

  13. Bob Tisdale says:

    Earthling, sorry, but who I am and what makes me tick is not for publication. If you’re wondering why, the answer is, I’m just trying to maintain some privacy.


  14. earthling12 says:

    Bob, maybe I misworded my post, so let me put it another way.
    Are you qualified in any fields of science related to climatology, e.g., Earth sciences, geoscience, climate modeling, forecasting, atmospheric physics, glaciology, paleo-climatology, oceanography or other?


    earthling12: I am a blogger. My background is irrelevant. I plot data and a describe what they present. If anyone believes I’ve misrepresent the data or misinterpreted what the data presents, they are more than welcome to correct me or to offer alternate explanations.

    Regards, Bob

  15. earthling12 says:


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