September 2011 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomaly Update

MONTHLY SST ANOMALY MAP

The following is a Global map of Reynolds OI.v2 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies for September 2011 downloaded from the NOMADS website. The contour levels are set at 0.5 deg C, and white is set at zero.

September 2011 SST Anomalies Map (Global SST Anomaly = +0.129 deg C)

MONTHLY OVERVIEW

Monthly NINO3.4 SST anomalies are below the threshold of a La Niña event, though they remain in at weak La Niña levels. The Monthly NINO3.4 SST Anomaly dropped to -0.665 deg C.

SST anomalies for both hemispheres dropped in September, with a greater decline in the Southern Hemisphere. The Global SST anomalies are presently at +0.129 deg C.

(1) Global

Monthly Change = -0.040 deg C

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(2) NINO3.4 SST Anomaly

Monthly Change = -0.140 deg C

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THE EAST PACIFIC VERSUS THE REST OF THE WORLD

The East Pacific and the Rest-Of-The-World (Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific) datasets were first discussed in the post Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies – East Pacific Versus The Rest Of The World.Both datasets have been adjusted for the impacts of volcanic aerosols. The global oceans were divided into these two subsets to illustrate two facts. First, the linear trend of the volcano-adjusted East Pacific (90S-90N, 180-80W) SST anomalies since the start of the Reynolds OI.v2 dataset is basically flat. The East Pacific linear trend varies with each monthly update. But it won’t vary significantly between El Niño and La Niña events.

(3) Volcano-Adjusted East Pacific (90S-90N, 180-80W)

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And second, the volcano-adjusted SST anomalies for the Rest of the World (90S-90N, 80W-180) rise in very clear steps, in response to the significant 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Niño/La Niña events. It also appears as though the SST anomalies of this dataset are making another upward shift in response to the most recent ENSO event. For those who are interested in the actual trends of the SST anomalies between the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Niño events and between the 1997/98 and 2009/10 El Niño events refer to Figure 4 in Does The Sea Surface Temperature Record Support The Hypothesis Of Anthropogenic Global Warming? I further described (at an introductory level) the ENSO-related processes that cause these upward steps in the post ENSO Indices Do Not Represent The Process Of ENSO Or Its Impact On Global Temperature.

(4) Volcano-Adjusted Rest of the World (90S-90N, 80W-180)

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The periods used for the average Rest-Of-The-World SST anomalies between the significant El Niño events of 1982/83, 1986/87/88, 1997/98, and 2009/10 are determined as follows. Using the NOAA Oceanic Nino Index(ONI) for the official months of those El Niño events, I shifted (lagged) those El Niño periods by six months to accommodate the lag between NINO3.4 SST anomalies and the response of the Rest-Of-The-World SST anomalies, then deleted the Rest-Of-The-World data that corresponds to those significant El Niño events. I then averaged the Rest-Of-The-World SST anomalies between those El Niño-related gaps.

The “Nov 2010 to Present” average varies with each update. As noted in the linked post, it will be interesting to see where that SST anomaly average settles out, if it does, before the next significant El Niño drives them higher.

Of course, something could shift. Will the upward ratcheting continue when the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation decides to turn around and start its decline? The upward steps would not continue in the North Atlantic, but would the AMO impact the upward steps in other portions of the globe?

The SST anomalies of the East Pacific Ocean, or approximately 33% of the surface area of the global oceans, have risen very little since 1982 based on the linear trend. And between upward shifts, the SST anomalies for the rest of the world (67% of the global ocean surface area) remain relatively flat. Anthropogenic forcings are said to be responsible for most of the rise in global surface temperatures over this period, but the SST anomaly graphs of those two areas prompt a two-part question: Since 1982, what anthropogenic global warming processes would overlook the sea surface temperatures of 33% of the global oceans and have an impact on the other 67% but only during the months of the significant El Niño events of 1986/87/88, 1997/98 and 2009/10?

EAST INDIAN-WEST PACIFIC

The SST anomalies in the East Indian and West Pacific rose this month.

I include this dataset 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.

(5) East Indian-West Pacific (60S-65N, 80E-180)

Monthly Change = -0.016 deg C

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Further information on the upward “step changes” that result from strong El Niño 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 animations included in the post La Niña Is Not The Opposite Of El Niño – The Videosfurther help explain the reasons why East Indian and West Pacific SST anomalies can rise in response to both El Niño and La Niña events.

NOTE ABOUT THE DATA

The MONTHLY graphs illustrate raw monthly OI.v2 SST anomaly data from December 1981 to September 2011, as it is presented by the NOAA NOMADS website linked at the end of the post.

MONTHLY INDIVIDUAL OCEAN AND HEMISPHERIC SST UPDATES

(6) Northern Hemisphere

Monthly Change = -0.004 deg C

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(7) Southern Hemisphere

Monthly Change = -0.068 deg C

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(8) North Atlantic (0 to 70N, 80W to 0)

Monthly Change = +0.059 deg C

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(9) South Atlantic (0 to 60S, 70W to 20E)

Monthly Change = -0.111 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, and where it had been since the late 1980s. That is, it appears to have made an upward step and continues to rise. Why? Dunno—yet.

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(10) North Pacific (0 to 65N, 100E to 90W)

Monthly Change = -0.048 Deg C

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(11) South Pacific (0 to 60S, 120E to 70W)

Monthly Change = -0.074 deg C

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(12) Indian Ocean (60S to 30N, 20E to 120E)

Monthly Change = -0.077 deg C

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(13) Arctic Ocean (65N to 90N)

Monthly Change = +0.153 deg C

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(14) Southern Ocean (90S-60S)

Monthly Change = +0.004 deg C

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WEEKLY SST ANOMALIES

The weekly NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies have dropped considerably and are now approaching the threshold of a La Niña event. Keep in mind, though, that the weekly NINO3.4 SST anomalies are volatile and may not continue to decline. The NINO3.4 SST anomaly based on the week centered on October 5, 2011 is -0.882 deg C.

(15) Weekly NINO3.4 SST Anomalies

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The weekly global SST anomalies are at +0.111 deg C.

(16) Weekly Global

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SOURCE

The Optimally Interpolated Sea Surface Temperature Data (OISST) are available through the NOAA National Operational Model Archive & Distribution System (NOMADS).

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.
This entry was posted in SST Update. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to September 2011 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomaly Update

  1. Fred N. says:

    Question(s) for you Bob wrt sea level measurements (sorry, I don’t a relevant place for this). I don’t if you’ve posted on it before but with the hoopla about sea level rise due to AGW, this may deserve some thought. Since I don’t have access to relevant data, perhaps you do.

    Other than the area to the east of the Philipines (from about the dateline west), global sea levels look to be a non-issue, eyeballing it (http://sealevel.colorado.edu/content/map-sea-level-trends). Wrt to the area east of the Philipines, I have noticed for some time that the upper ocean temperature anomolies for that area have been very positive (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_update/wkxzteq.shtml and http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_update/155lonta.gif). Regardless of how these anomolies are generated, what effect on sea level trends would this temperature anomoly have for that area, assumedly positive, but how much? Secondly, if we remove that effect from the area in question what effect would it have on the GMSL trend value?

  2. Bob Tisdale says:

    Fred N: Sorry that I don’t have the time to respond to your questions more detail. I’ve been attending to other matters that have been and will be occupying most of my time for at least the next few weeks. I’ve done a number of posts about sea level. If you were to enter “sea level” in the search feature in the right-hand column, you’ll find all of the posts where I’ve mentioned sea level. So you can weed through those to minimize your search. The post about thermosteric sea level may be of interest to you. Since it’s based on the same data as the Ocean Heat Content data, it too flattens drasically since the introduction of ARGO:
    https://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/new-nodc-dataset-thermosteric-sea-level-anomalies/

    The variations in the sea level and subsurface temperatures in the Western Pacific are ENSO related. Related posts will also appear in that “sea level” search.

    Regards

  3. DB says:

    Bob, you write “The NINO3.4 SST anomaly based on the week centered on August 3, 2011 is -0.882 deg C.”

    Did you mean October 3rd?

  4. Bob Tisdale says:

    DB: Thanks. I corrected it to October 5, 2011.

    Regards

  5. Mike Mangan says:

    Bob, are you going to Trenberth’s chit chat?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/16/skeptics-are-invited-to-a-public-meeting-with-dr-kevin-trenberth/

    Sounds like fun. Heh.

  6. Bob Tisdale says:

    Mike Mangan: Nope. Don’t have the time to attend the Trenberth meeting.

  7. Mike Mangan says:

    Too bad. If you could ask Trenberth one question, what do you think it would be? And would you forward that to Anthony?

  8. nevket240 says:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-17/cyclone-season/3575626

    for our much “loved and respected” ABC to ublish this without mentioning Climate Change or AGW is amazing. I expect a CSIRO ‘expert’ to come out with a dire ‘model’ prediction soon.
    regards

  9. Pascvaks says:

    Best to you Bob, take care!

    PS: Looks like North Atlantic SST Anomolies are set to take a nose dive over the next 12 months. Wonder how all those European Windmills will hold up?

  10. Pascvaks says:

    Ref. my last-
    ..’nose dive over next 12 months’.. let’s say nose dive over the next 3-4 months and recovery to current level by this time next year.

    PS: Breezy out here on these small limbs;-) I’m using your North Pacific and North Atlantic graphs offset by ~2 to 2.5 years; NPac as precurser to NAtl. By the time NPac gets to NAtl (GOC is slow) there’s a reversal of scale and sign. Looks like it’s a little better than nothing. Best!

  11. Pascvaks says:

    If my last two entries are too ‘whatever’ please delete them and this one too. The reverse fit, offset by ~2 to 2.5 years, between upwelling in the NPac and downdraft in NAtl, maybe something so well known to you and the other pros that it’s not even worth casual mention or explaination. Don’t mean to waste your time when you’re occupied with other more important things. Best!

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