PRELIMINARY March 2013 Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Update


The March 2013 Reynolds OI.v2 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data through the NOAA NOMADS website won’t be official until Monday, April 8th 2013. 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 March 2013 that the NOMADS website prepares based on incomplete data for the month. I’ve also included the weekly data through the week centered on March 27, 2013, but I’ve shortened the span of the weekly data, starting it in March 2004, so that the variations can be seen.

The base years for anomalies are 1971-2000, which are the standard base years from the NOAA NOMADS website for this dataset.


The preliminary global sea surface temperature anomalies warmed a small amount (+0.015 deg C) in the last month. The global sea surface temperature anomalies are presently at about +0.21 deg C. That of course will change a little when the full month of data is reported in a week.

Global Monthly

Monthly Global SST Anomalies


The sea surface temperature anomalies of the NINO3.4 region in the eastern equatorial Pacific (5S-5N, 170W-120W) are a commonly used index for the strength, frequency, and duration of El Niño and La Niña events. Based on the preliminary data, March 2013 NINO3.4 SST anomalies warmed about +0.2 deg C to approximately -0.16 deg C. That value is above the threshold of La Niña conditions, and that means we’re in ENSO-neutral conditions. Also refer to the weekly data that follows.

NINO3.4 Monthly

Monthly NINO3.4 SST Anomalies



Weekly NINO3.4 region (5S-5N, 170W-120W) sea surface temperature anomalies for the week centered on March 27, 2013 warmed back toward zero. The weekly NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies were at -0.01 deg C.

Weekly NINO3.4

Weekly NINO3.4 SST Anomalies


Weekly Global SST Anomalies made a significant rise two weeks ago, and they’ve dropped a little over the past week. They are presently at +0.25 deg C.

Weekly Global

Weekly Global SST Anomalies



Why should you be interested? 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’ve searched sea surface temperature records for more than 4 years and ocean heat content records for more than 3 years, and I can find no evidence of an anthropogenic greenhouse gas signal in either dataset. That is, the warming of the global oceans has been caused by Mother Nature, not anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

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 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. The book was updated recently to correct a few typos.

Please buy a copy. (Credit/Debit Card through PayPal. You do NOT have to open a PayPal account. Simply scroll down to the “Don’t Have a PayPal Account” purchase option. 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.
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11 Responses to PRELIMINARY March 2013 Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Update

  1. goldminor says:

    @ Bob Tisdale…..I have been watching the daily sst results from Unisys for the last 4 months. During most of that time the Northern Atlantic was showing mostly warm anomalies. Then in March the cool spot off of the eastern US finally expanded eastward towards Europe. I haven’t viewed sst,s for very long and I was wondering if this increased cooling stretching across the Atlantic is a normal feature for this time of year. Also, can that cooling works it way closer up to the Greenland region?

  2. Bob Tisdale says:

    goldminor: You’re correct. There is a seasonal component to the sea surface temperature anomalies of the North Atlantic.

    However, it’s difficult to say if that is one of the reasons you’ve seen a recent cooling there. I’ve uploaded the recent Unisys sea surface temperature anomaly animation here:

    Which I downloaded it today from here:

    The North Atlantic is strongly impacted by the ENSO state of the tropical Pacific. And it’s also influenced by the changes in wind patterns (and sea level pressure) associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation.

    One thing is certain: There was a sharp cooling along the Gulf Stream over the past few weeks. Will it continue? Dunno. There has been a minor warming of the eastern equatorial Pacific in the last few weeks. It’s possible the North Atlantic will warm a little in response to that in the near future.

  3. goldminor says:

    The Unisys loop seems to show a greater resolution with more variation of temps from week to week. The Gulf Stream was what I should have said instead of the North Atlantic. I noticed that cool band growing and moving towards Europe. If global temperatures were to continue on a decline, how would you expect the Atlantic anomalies to respond?

  4. Bob Tisdale says:

    goldminor: We might expect North Atlantic sea surface temperatures to take on that pattern. But a similar pattern appeared temporarily in the North Atlantic last summer…
    …and annual North Atlantic sea surface temperature anomalies for 2012 didn’t show any evidence of cooling:

    The variations in recent years appear to be in line with what we’d expect for responses to ENSO.
    What’s missing this year (so far) are the warm anomalies south of Greenland. Time will tell. It’s still early.

  5. Espen says:

    regarding the east Pacific: I noticed that the Unisys chart has shown a cold tongue building up along the Ecuador cost over the last few days.

  6. goldminor says:

    Hello, I thought I would share this with you, as I would think the concept has some value. This is from a conversation at WUWT.
    goldminor says:
    May 11, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    Thanks for an interesting article. I looked up kriging to read more about the method. I find one curious anomaly in chart #4 and yes I did hallucinate a few times back in the 60s. If you look approximately 6 years out past each eruption, the graph shows a large upward heat spike on the surface:ICOADS SST line. That spike following all three eruptions gains approximately 2.5C from the point where the ICOADS line crosses the eruption event to the peak of the ICOADS line 6 years out. Is this just a coincidence? Also, there are 16 peaks in that time span or slightly over 3.5 years between spikes on the surface:ICOADS. It seems so regular, but what would cause that? The surface:ERSST closely follows the same pattern.

    This is later followed by this new comment that I just made………. goldminor says:
    May 12, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Couldn’t this be the smoking gun for why temperatures rose so high above average in the first place? Global warming has been volcano-induced. For what ever natural forces were in play, with a {slight boost?} from CO2, was then amplified by this volcanic aftereffect. The Pinatubo event, in particular, strikes with perfect timing to where the 6 year atmospheric effect coincides with the solar rise after the minimum. So you have a ‘hot’ sun and a Windex clear atmosphere for it to penetrate and cause the great El Nino of 1997/98. All of the heat from that event has been dissipating ever since. Isn’t that why the extra warmth in the northern Atlantic encompassed so much of Greenland as well as warming Europe for the 10 years after 1998?

  7. Bob Tisdale says:

    goldminor, researchers have tried to tie El Nino events to volcanic eruptions, but they’ve had limited success.


  8. goldminor says:

    I am not saying that this ties in with El Nino. This seems totally independent. A key point could be that out of the 3 volcanic events, the rebound {if it exists} in the first two events arrives close to the top of the ascending solar max, while Pinatubo coincides with the bottom of the ascending solar minimum heading to max. Pinatubo follows El Chichon by 9 years, which by coincidence is the flood cycle of the Pacific Northwest, except when that flood cycle stretches out to almost 12 years as it has done for the last 3 cycles. I have the thought in my mind that the flood cycle is about to return to it’s 9 year pattern. This will place the next solar min on either side of 2016.

  9. goldminor says:

    that last date should read 2017

  10. goldminor says:

    and thanks for listening

  11. Bob Tisdale says:

    goldminor says: “I am not saying that this ties in with El Nino.”

    Most spikes are tied to El Ninos. See the HADISST-based NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies starting in 1870:

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