They’re Back – NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies are Back above the Threshold of El Niño Conditions

This post will also serve as the PRELIMINARY October 2012 Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Update.

Note: As many of you are aware, I’m away from home, visiting family. Just my luck to be stuck indoors now with all of the rain and wind. So far the power here as remained on, but there are no guarantees for how long. If it takes a few days for me to moderate and reply to comments, you’ll understand why.


The October 2012 Reynolds OI.v2 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data through the NOAA NOMADS website won’t be official until Monday, November 5th. Refer to the schedule on the NOAA Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface Temperature Analysis Frequently Asked Questions webpage. The following are the preliminary Global and NINO3.4 SST anomalies for October 2012 that the NOMADS website prepares based on incomplete data for the month. I’ve also included the weekly data through the week centered on October 24, 2012, but I’ve shortened the span of the weekly data, starting it in January 2004, so that the variations can be seen.


The sea surface temperatures of an area in the eastern equatorial Pacific (5S-5N, 170W-120W), known as the NINO3.4 region, are a commonly used reference for the strength, frequency and duration of El Niño and La Niña events. Weekly NINO3.4 region sea surface temperature anomalies for the week centered on October 24, 2012 have risen back above the 0.5 deg C threshold of an “official” El Niño. They were at +0.63 deg C.

Weekly NINO3.4 SST Anomalies

Weekly Global sea surface temperature anomalies continue to cool. They are presently at +0.23 deg C.

Weekly Global SST Anomalies


Based on the preliminary data, October 2012 NINO3.4 SST anomalies are at +0.34 deg C, which is below the +0.5 deg C threshold of “official” El Niño conditions. Refer also to the weekly data, which shows a rebound above the threshold.

Monthly NINO3.4 SST Anomalies

The preliminary global SST anomalies appear to be well out of synch with the weekly data. They’re presently at +0.286 deg C.

Monthly Global SST Anomalies


Will this year’s event turn into a non-Niño, aka La Nada, or will it rebound into El Niño conditions? The rebound appears to be a result of the recent downwelling Kelvin wave, the second one to occur this year—see page 16 of the NOAA Weekly ENSO Update. It will have to contend with the cooler waters being carried west along the equator.

NINO3.4 Evolution Comparison – All


Why should you be interested? Satellite-era sea surface temperature records indicate El Niño and La Niña events are responsible for the warming of global sea surface temperature anomalies over the past 30 years, not manmade greenhouse gases. I have been publishing blog posts for the past 3 ½ years that illustrate that fact.

I’ve recently published my e-book (pdf) about the phenomena called El Niño and La Niña. It’s titled Who Turned on the Heat? with the subtitle The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño Southern Oscillation. It is intended for persons (with or without technical backgrounds) interested in learning about El Niño and La Niña events and in understanding the natural causes of the warming of our global oceans for the past 30 years. Because land surface air temperatures simply exaggerate the natural warming of the global oceans over annual and multidecadal time periods, the vast majority of the warming taking place on land is natural as well. The book is the product of years of research of the satellite-era sea surface temperature data that’s available to the public via the internet. It presents how the data accounts for its warming—and there are no indications the warming was caused by manmade greenhouse gases. None at all.

Who Turned on the Heat? was introduced in the blog post Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about El Niño and La Niña… …Well Just about Everything. The Updated Free Preview includes the Table of Contents; the Introduction; the beginning of Section 1, with the cartoon-like illustrations; the discussion About the Cover; and the Closing.

Please buy a copy. (Credit/Debit Card or PayPal). It’s only US$8.00.


The Sea Surface Temperature anomaly data used in this post 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.
This entry was posted in El Nino-La Nina Processes, SST Update. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to They’re Back – NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies are Back above the Threshold of El Niño Conditions

  1. Tom Harley says:

    Reblogged this on pindanpost and commented:
    What? Just after BoM say it’s gone away …

  2. Good day Bob, Just wanted to share with you something I learned in my geology class today which relates to CO2 being a driving force in climate and how the eventual realization of CO2s small warming potential will have a large impact on various sciences. Lets start with a cooler climate. They assume the Earth to be overall dryer when cool. So when looking at tectonic plates, specifically two moving together, we get CO2 being taken into the mantle via the subducting plate, which will then melt, creating volcanoes, which will then release CO2 into the atmosphere. Because it’s a cooler climate we’ll have glaciers in the mountains eroding away, and as the mountains build we’ll have an increase in erosion (as mountain uplift causes the glaciers to dig deeper). Now as the CO2 levels increase we’ll have a warming of climate which will slow the erosion processes of the glaciers, But as the climate warms we’ll have more precipitation which will help wash CO2 out of the air and back into the ocean where it falls and creates carbonates, as well as less erosion in the mountains from the glaciers. So this will eventually balance out and slow the warming rate/ cause cooling, or so they think. I found this interesting as a theory for how plate tectonics can impact climate and vice versa, and even more interesting to think that CO2 may not play an important role as they assume.

  3. tallbloke says:

    Thanks Bob, interesting update.

  4. Had a thought, seeing as we dipped below El Nino conditions for a while, would it be a stretch to correlate Hurricane Sandy’s birth to the weakened El Nino conditions seeing as hurricanes generally struggle to form during El Ninos?

  5. Bob Tisdale says:

    Richard Fenske: Agreed. That should be one of the contributing factors to Sandy. If the El Nino conditions had evolved normally, it would have been harder for the hurricane to form due to the increased wind shear associated with an El Nino.

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