Northern Extratropical Sea Surface Temperatures Are Cool, But Not Abnormally So

Many persons visit the Unisys Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly webpage to check on the surface temperatures of the oceans. Some people prefer the webpage due to the color scaling, which has light blues extending into positive anomalies. Unfortunately, the scaling makes sea surface temperature anomalies appear cooler than they are.

Example: The sea surface temperature anomalies on the map for today, Figure 1, appear very cool in the extratropical portions of the North Atlantic (20N-65N, 100W-20E) and North Pacific (20N-65N, 100E-100W). Some parts are cool, no doubt about it, especially along the east coast of Asia and in the Bering Sea.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Note: Just in case you’re wondering if the recent volcanic eruption in the Aleutians caused the cooling in those portions of the North Pacific, we can look at the Unisys animation here and determine the cooling started before the May 13th eruption. Then again, we can’t say the volcanic aerosols haven’t contributed to the cooling since then.

But if we look at the weekly sea surface temperature anomaly data for the extratropical portions of the North Atlantic and North Pacific, we’ll see that the temperatures there are cool, but not abnormally so. See Figures 2 and 3.

Figure 2

Figure 2

###############

Figure 3

Figure 3

A few things do stand out, however, and we can see them easier if we look at the monthly data. Based on the linear trends, the extratropical North Pacific (Figure 4) hasn’t warmed since 1994, and in the North Atlantic (Figure 5), the extratropical sea surface temperatures have warmed very little since 1997, even with the spike in 2012.

Figure 4

Figure 4

###############

Figure 5

Figure 5

The sea surface temperatures of the tropical North Pacific (0-20N, 100E-100W), of course, haven’t warmed appreciably in over 31 years. See Figure 6. And yet we know that somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere that sea surface temperatures are warming. Unfortunately, it’s the tropical North Atlantic (0-20N, 20W-20E), Figure 7, the spawning ground of hurricanes.

Figure 6

Figure 6

###############

Figure 7

Figure 7

As a reminder, we discussed the sea surface temperatures of the hurricane breeding grounds recently here.

And as we’ve illustrated and discussed for more than four years, the ocean heat content records and satellite-era sea surface temperature data, indicate the oceans have warmed naturally. If the topic of the natural warming of the global oceans in new to you, refer to my illustrated essay “The Manmade Global Warming Challenge” [42MB].

SOURCE

The Sea Surface Temperature anomaly data used in this post is available through the NOAA NOMADS website:

http://nomad1.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh

or:

http://nomad3.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh?lite=

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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.

4 Responses to Northern Extratropical Sea Surface Temperatures Are Cool, But Not Abnormally So

  1. mwhite says:

    Caught this story on the news this morning

    http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/lower-temperatures-putting-basking-sharks/story-19111463-detail/story.html#axzz2UbpPoMU5

    “Are lower temperatures putting off basking sharks visiting us this year?”

    “”Divers are telling us that the water temperature is 10 or 11 degrees centigrade. But at this time of the year it should be nearer 13 degrees,” said Dr Solandt.”

  2. Pingback: These items caught my eye – 29 May 2013 | grumpydenier

  3. Brian D says:

    Bob, if you remember on WUWT, I posted a comment concerning baselines being used. You mentioned 1971-2000 as the baseline that was probably being used. I had thought I had seen different ones used, and I found where I had seen that.

    Here is the link to that.

    From here.
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso//enso.current.html

    They switched to the 1981-2010 baseline some time ago from a base period that was 80’s to 90’s.

  4. Bob Tisdale says:

    Brian D: Thanks for looking into the matter further. However, at the NOAA NOMADS website, they’re still using 1971-2000 as the base years:
    http://nomad3.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh?ctlfile=monoiv2.ctl&varlist=on&new_window=on&lite=&ptype=ts&dir=
    The base years for anomalies are listed on the drop down menu for the anomalies selection.

    Regards

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