VERY Preliminary May 2013 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Update


The May 2013 Reynolds OI.v2 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data through the NOAA NOMADS website won’t be official until Monday, June 10, 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 May2013 that the NOMADS website prepares based on incomplete data for the month. I’ve also included the weekly data through the week centered on May 22, 2013, but I’ve shortened the span of the weekly data. As noted in the recent mid-April update, I’ve started using January 2001 so that the variations can be seen AND so that you can see how “flat” global sea surface temperature anomalies have been since then.

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 were basically unchanged (+0.001 deg C) in the last month. The global sea surface temperature anomalies are presently at about +0.24 deg C. That of course will change a little when the full month of data is reported in a couple of weeks.

Monthly Global

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, May 2013 NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies are below zero (about -0.16 deg C), but not yet in La Niña conditions (cooler than -0.5 deg C). That indicates we’re in ENSO-neutral conditions, meaning the tropical Pacific is not showing El Niño or La Niña conditions. Also refer to the weekly data that follows because they have cooled a little more.

Monthly NINO3.4

Monthly NINO3.4 SST Anomalies



Weekly NINO3.4 region (5S-5N, 170W-120W) sea surface temperature anomalies for the week centered on May 22, 2013 have been edging cooler over the past couple of weeks. The weekly NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies were approximately -0.31 deg C.

Weekly NINO3.4

Weekly NINO3.4 SST Anomalies


Weekly Global SST Anomalies have shown some volatility over the past few weeks: a reasonably large drop, and partial rebound. They are presently about +0.21 deg C. The average global sea surface temperature anomaly since January 2001 is about 0.18 deg C, and it really doesn’t seem to be wandering too far from that average.

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 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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4 Responses to VERY Preliminary May 2013 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Update

  1. goldminor says:

    Speaking of sst temps, I ended up in an argument that led to a bet, just a prediction, regarding the upcoming Arctic sea ice minimum in Sept. This was at Newsvine which I do not frequent like I used to. I need more reality in any conversation to find it engaging. Anyway, I had said this…

    goldminor replied 5 days ago


    comment author avatar


    In reply to: Physicist-retired #1.1 Now we get to watch what the Arctic is going to do this season. I would bet that there is going to be a substantial difference this year as compared to last year. This last winter can not be ignored for the depth and longevity of the season. The CET record shows how weather cycles come and go in the NH. I am surprised that the CET is not used as the ultimate arbiter of current weather and climate over any models.

    The North Atlantic is changing over to it’s cold phase. The Pacific is already in a cold phase. The solar minimum is close. What is going to happen next?
    followed by Physicist retired….Physicist-retired replied 5 days ago


    comment author avatar


    In reply to: goldminor #1.2

    The North Atlantic is changing over to it’s cold phase.

    What’s your ‘bet’, goldminor?

    Put it here, and be specific – what minimum sea ice volume will we see in 2013? I’ll bookmark it.
    to which I answered this…

    goldminor replied 3 days ago


    comment author avatar


    In reply to: Physicist-retired #1.8 I figured big boys like you would know what I meant by ‘6’. That would be 6 as in 6 mil on the NSIDC chart that is put out daily. Last year dipped to around 3.25 mil. I am saying that the loss will stop around 6 mil. Now we have to wait until September to find out. Any prediction on your side that you would like to make.
    Looking at today’s NSIDC, the 2013 sea ice extent just crossed above the 2012 track. Considering how cool the NH still is, it is not hard to imagine that the sea ice will be significantly different from last years cyclone influenced ice breakup given that we just had such a deep winter. Yet Physicist retired then posts a link as proof of his thought, This link shows a projected 2013 NSIDC trend line that has already missed its prediction starting at the end of January. Now it is well under the actual sea ice extent. He says under 4 million km and I say no less than 6 mil. How can they stay so confident when reality steadily shows the fallacy of their thought? I wish that I actually could afford to wager with this guy. I am a betting man at times.

  2. Norman says:

    They haven’t processed further for some days as I anticipated a few days ago.
    Its not going their way that’s all I can say it happens every time ice goes up like this. Expect a major downward adjustments in coming days. The team cannot accept this data!

  3. John Charles Brown says:

    I am a retired programmer. I used to model industrial processes 40 years ago. My friend here in the UK put solar panels on his roof 2 years ago. Now after a run of increasingly cold winters, I have to decide whether to do the same, or to instead install an air-to-air heat pump. I watched the 2008 TV program “Climate Wars”. That presented curves showing how global temperature rose between 1980 and 1990 according to (obviously patchy) terrestrial ground station data, but fell according to the new satellite data. Then, we were told, the satellite people realised that orbits had been decaying, and after correcting for this the satellite data miraculously agreed with the ground station data, and has done every since. But if orbit decays and the satellite descends, its perceived infra-red radiation must increase from geometry and from having (very slighty) less atmosphere to cross. So any error from orbit decay should show in the direction of increased perceived global warming. Since then it occurred to me that the claim might be saved by a decrease in double counting by less overlap on the earth’s surface of the cones of radiation collection from adjacent satellites. I do not want minute calculations about the balance between these various effects to take over the rest of my life, and delay my decision on how to heat my house.
    Can anyone help me?

  4. goldminor says: “How can they stay so confident when reality steadily shows the fallacy of their thought? I wish that I actually could afford to wager with this guy. I am a betting man at times.”

    Perhaps they are confident because they actually understand the physical processes and can do a little bit of math? It’s been nearly a month since your discussion with a Physicist-retired took place. Are you still of the belief that the minimum will be around 6 Mkm^2?

    Not one scientific group that I know of is predicting anything more than 5 Mkm^2 for this year’s *average* September extent. Get that? Not the minimum, but the monthly average is predicted to be no more than 5 Mkm^2 by the scientists that study the arctic.

    Now, who should be confident – those that are in agreement with all the scientists in the world – or those who believe they are smarter than said scientists?

    BTW – what was your prediction last year? Or the year before?

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