NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies Approaching the Threshold of El Niño Conditions AND a Status Update on New Book

This post will serve as the sea surface temperature update for mid-June.

The post also provides an update on the progress I’m making with my new book The Ignored Driver of Global Climate.  I’ve included the table of contents as it exists now and a sample “ENSO cartoon”. The reason I’ve included the table of contents is to ask you if I’ve missed any topics that you believe need to be covered.


NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies (a commonly used El Niño-Southern Oscillation Index) are just below the 0.5 deg C threshold of El Niño conditions. For the week centered on June 13, 2012, NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies are approximately +0.43 deg C.

NINO3.4 SST Anomalies – Short-Term


The weekly global sea surface temperature anomalies made an upward surge a couple of weeks ago in response to the transition from La Niña to soon-to-be El Niño conditions, then dropped, and last week they made a very slight upturn. They are now at about 0.17 deg C.

Global SST Anomalies – Short-Term


This weekly Reynolds OI.v2 SST dataset begins in 1990. I’ve started the graphs in 2004 to make the weekly variations visible.


OI.v2 SST anomaly data is available through the NOAA NOMADS system:


I’m making great progress with my new book The Ignored Driver of Global Climate. I’m about 85% done, I believe, based on what I think should be included. The following is the Table of Contents as it exists today. I’m presently at chapter “4.10 ENSO Versus the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)”. So far it’s 240+ pages long and includes 180+ illustrations. As you’ll note in the Table of Contents, there are a number of topics discussed in the book that I’ve not addressed in any blog posts to date.

And now the question that I need to ask: what topics do you want to see discussed that I’ve missed?



Section 1 – A Description of El Niño and La Niña Events Using Cartoons

1.1 Preliminary Discussion of the ENSO Cartoons

1.2 The ENSO Cartoons

1.3 Recap of Section 1

Section 2 – A Few Preliminary Discussions

2.1 The Types of Graphs Presented

2.2 Linear Trends

2.3 How El Niño and La Niña EventsPresent Themselves in the Sea Surface Temperature Record

2.4 Our Primary ENSO Index is NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

2.5 How ENSO Events Are Presented in the Text

2.6 On the Use of Anomalies

2.7 Converting Monthly Absolute Data to Anomalies

2.8 Using the Model Mean of the IPCC’s Climate Models

2.9 Why We’ll Be Using Satellite-Based Sea Surface Temperature Data

2.10 Notes on Data Smoothing

2.11 Recap of Section 2

Section 3 – A More Detailed Discussion of ENSO Processes

3.1 A Quick Look at the Size of the Pacific Ocean

3.2 Pacific Trade Winds and Ocean Currents

3.3 Putting the Equatorial Pacific Cross Sections in Perspective

3.4 The ENSO-Neutral State of the Tropical Pacific

3.5 The Transition from ENSO-Neutral to El Niño

3.6 El Niño Phase

3.7 The Transition from El Niño to ENSO Neutral

3.8 La Niña Phase

3.9 The Recharge of Ocean Heat during the La Niña

3.10 Recap of Section 3

Section 4 – Additional ENSO Discussions

4.1 How El Niño Events Cause Surface Temperatures to Warm Outside of the Tropical Pacific

4.2 Central Pacific versus East Pacific El Niño Events

4.3 ENSO Indices

4.4 ENSO Indices Also Fail to Capture the Relative Strengths of ENSO Events

4.5 The Repeating Sequence of Primary and Secondary El Niño Events

4.6 A Look at How a Few More Tropical Pacific Variables Respond to ENSO

4.7 ENSO Events Run in Synch with the Annual Seasonal Cycle

4.8 Subsurface Temperature and Temperature Anomaly Variations in the Equatorial Pacific

4.9 An Introduction to the Delayed Oscillator Mechanism

4.10 ENSO Versus the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)

4.11 Recap of Section 4

Section 5 – The Long-Term Impacts of Major ENSO Events on Global Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

Section 6 – The Long-Term Impacts of Major ENSO Events on Global Land-Plus-Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies and Lower Troposphere Temperature Anomalies

Section 7 – The Long-Term Impacts of ENSO on Ocean Heat Content Anomalies

Section 8 – Failed Arguments Against ENSO as the Primary Driver of Global Surface Temperatures



If, after looking at the Table of Contents, you’re wondering about the “ENSO Cartoons” mentioned in Section 1, the following is a sample. There are 29 in Section 1. Why so many? I was looking at all of the websites that provide introductions to ENSO and noticed that most included only a couple of illustrations of the ENSO process. Readers there have to jockey between the text and the illustrations. Unfortunately, much of what’s discussed in the text at those websites is not illustrated. So I’m trying the cartoons which combine text and the illustrations, with hope that they will help readers understand the basics of the ENSO processes. Later, in Section 3, I go into much more detail, supporting the cartoons with data, to reinforce what was presented in the cartoons.

Sample “ENSO Cartoon”


The IPCC claims that only the rise in anthropogenic greenhouse gases can explain the warming over the past 30 years. Satellite-based sea surface temperature disagrees with the IPCC’s claims. Most, if not all, of the rise in global sea surface temperature is shown to be the result of a natural process called the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO. This is discussed in detail in my first book, If the IPCC was Selling Manmade Global Warming as a Product, Would the FTC Stop their deceptive Ads?, which is available in pdf and Kindle editions. An overview of my book is provided in the above-linked post. Amazon also provides a Kindle preview that runs from the introduction through a good portion of Section 2. That’s about the first 15% of the book. Refer also to the introduction, table of contents, and closing in pdf form here.


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 El Nino-La Nina Processes, SST Update. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies Approaching the Threshold of El Niño Conditions AND a Status Update on New Book

  1. Pingback: Temperatura Océano Global mayo 2012 «

  2. Don B says:

    The people in West Texas are anxiously awaiting the El Nino. For that area, generally, El Nino means rain, and La Nina means drought.

  3. David Appell says:

    What is your source for the weekly NINO3.4 data? The one I was following has not been updated since May 16:

  4. Bob Tisdale says:

    David Appell: I use the NOAA NOMADS website:
    Under “Control File”, select “oiv2.ctl OIv2 Weekly SST (1990 onward, weeks centered on Wednesday”.
    Under “Plot Type”, select time series. Then click “Next Page”.

    ON the next page, there’s a drop down menu under “Field”, select “ssta *OIv2 SST weekly anomaly…”
    In the fields under “Time series of a box average”, enter the coordinates of the NINO3.4 region (-5, 5, -170, -120) for 5S-5N, 170W-120W.
    The click “Plot”. That’ll open a new webpage.
    Below and to the left of the graph is a highlighted link. Click it. The next page is the weekly NINO3.4 SST anomalies centered on Wednesdays starting on Jan 3, 1990.

  5. Neville. says:

    Bob thanks very much for this update and for the info on your new book. I,d like to ask about SLR because it’s linked to temp increase and it is used by alarmists to frighten lay people all around the world.
    Like Gore, Hansen, Flannery etc. But why don’t we ever hear about the “all models” of SLR that show that Greenland ( 10% of planet’s ice ) has a positive projection to 2300 but Antarctica ( 89% of planet’s ice ) has a negative projection.
    So where is that dangerous SLR going to come from, surely not the 1% left over from other glaciers and thermal expansion?
    If Antarctica is locking up more water for another 300 years where is dangerous to come from I wonder. Simple kindy maths really.

  6. Bob Tisdale says:

    David Appell: Just discovered why NOAA stopped updating the weekly ENSO indices webpage you linked. They updated their base years in agreement with the WMO recommendations. The old webpage used 1971-2000 for the climatology. The new indices webpage with the 1981-2010 base years is here:

  7. David Appell says:

    Thanks very much, Bob (and for typing in all those instructions).

  8. kim says:

    When stout Tisdale first
    Stared wondrously waterward,
    Daring Pacific.

  9. Bob Tisdale says:

    kim: I’m not as stout as I was, but I could be less stout than I am.

    Please check your email.


  10. Pingback: How Does the Evolution of the 2012/13 El Niño Stack Up Against the Others since 1982? | Bob Tisdale – Climate Observations

  11. Pingback: Tisdale: How Does the Evolution of the 2012/13 El Niño Stack Up Against the Others since 1982? | Watts Up With That?

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