May 2013 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomaly Update

MONTHLY SST ANOMALY MAP

The following is a Global map of Reynolds OI.v2 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies for May 2013. It was downloaded from the NOMADS website. The contour levels are set at 0.5 deg C, and white is set at zero.

0 Map

May 2013 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies Map

(Global SST Anomaly = +0.222 deg C)

MONTHLY OVERVIEW

The sea surface temperature anomalies for the NINO3.4 region in the eastern equatorial Pacific (5S-5N, 170E-120E) are a commonly used index for the strength, frequency and duration of El Niño and La Nina events. We keep an eye on the sea surface temperatures there because El Niño and La Niña events are the primary cause of the yearly variations in global sea surface temperatures AND they are the primary cause of the long-term warming of global sea surface temperatures over the past 30 years. See the discussion of the East Pacific versus the Rest-of-the-World that follows.

Monthly NINO3.4 sea surface temperatures cooled about 0.2 deg C (-0.191 deg C) since last month. They’re presently at about -0.197 deg C. They’re well within El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-neutral conditions, meaning they’re not El Niño or La Niña conditions. Also refer to the discussion of the weekly NINO3.4 data near the bottom of the post.

Global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies cooled a little (-0.012 deg C) from April to May, with both hemispheres cooling. The ocean basins that warmed were the South Atlantic, North Pacific, and Arctic Oceans. The monthly Global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies are presently at +0.222 deg C.

01 Global

(1) Global Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

Monthly Change = -0.012 deg C

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02 NINO3.4

(2) NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

(5S-5N, 170W-120W)

Monthly Change = -0.191 deg C

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THE EAST PACIFIC VERSUS THE REST OF THE WORLD

The East Pacific and the Rest-Of-The-World (Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific) datasets were first discussed in the post Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies – East Pacific Versus The Rest Of The World, and were discussed a few months later in How Can Things So Obvious Be Overlooked By The Climate Science Community?

They were also discussed in great detail in my recently published book Who Turned on the Heat? The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño-Southern Oscillation. 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. Also see the blog post Everything You Every Wanted to Know about El Niño and La Niña… for an overview. The book is only US$8.00. Please click here to buy a copy. (Paypal or Credit/Debit Card. You do not need to open a PayPal account.)

In the following two graphs, both datasets have been adjusted for the impacts of volcanic aerosols. I’m considering eliminating the volcano adjustments, because they add very little to the discussion. In fact, some persons use those adjustments as an excuse to disregard the obvious.

The global oceans were divided into these two subsets to illustrate a couple of facts. First, the linear trend of the volcano-adjusted East Pacific (90S-90N, 180-80W) Sea Surface Temperature anomalies since the start of the Reynolds OI.v2 dataset is basically flat. That is, the East Pacific hasn’t warmed in 31+ years. The East Pacific is not a small region. It represents about 33% of the surface area of the global oceans. The East Pacific linear trend varies very slightly with each monthly update. But it won’t vary significantly between El Niño and La Niña events.

03 East Pac

(3) Volcano-Adjusted East Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(90S-90N, 180-80W)

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And second is the volcano-adjusted Sea Surface Temperature anomalies for the Rest of the World (90S-90N, 80W-180), which includes the Atlantic, Indian and West Pacific Oceans. The sea surface temperatures there rise in very clear steps, in response to the significant 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Niño/La Niña events. It also appears as though the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies of this dataset may have made another upward shift in response to the 2009/10 El Niño and 2010/11 La Niña events. For those who are interested in the actual trends of the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies between the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Niño events and between the 1997/98 and 2009/10 El Niño events refer to Figure 4 in Does The Sea Surface Temperature Record Support The Hypothesis Of Anthropogenic Global Warming? I further described (at an introductory level) the ENSO-related processes that cause these upward steps in the post ENSO Indices Do Not Represent The Process Of ENSO Or Its Impact On Global Temperature. And as noted above, it is discussed in detail in my recently published book Who Turned on the Heat? The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño-Southern Oscillation.

04 ROW

(4) Volcano-Adjusted Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies For The Rest of the World (Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific)

(90S-90N, 80W-180)

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The periods used for the average Rest-Of-The-World Sea Surface Temperature anomalies between the significant El Niño events of 1982/83, 1986/87/88, 1997/98, and 2009/10 are determined as follows. Using the original NOAA Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) for the official months of those El Niño events, I shifted (lagged) those El Niño periods by six months to accommodate the lag between NINO3.4 SST anomalies and the response of the Rest-Of-The-World Sea Surface Temperature anomalies, then deleted the Rest-Of-The-World data that corresponds to those significant El Niño events. I then averaged the Rest-Of-The-World SST anomalies between those El Niño-related gaps.

The “Nov 2010 to Present” average varies with each update. As noted in the post Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies – East Pacific Versus The Rest Of The World, it will be interesting to see where that Sea Surface Temperature anomaly average settles out, if it does, before the next significant El Niño drives them higher.

Of course, something could shift. Will the upward ratcheting continue when the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) decides to turn around and start its decline? The upward steps would not continue in the North Atlantic, but would the AMO impact the upward steps in other portions of the globe? For more information about the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, refer to the post An Introduction To ENSO, AMO, and PDO — Part 2.

The Sea Surface Temperature anomalies of the East Pacific Ocean, or approximately 33% of the surface area of the global oceans, have decreased slightly since 1982 based on the linear trend. And between upward shifts, the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies for the rest of the world (67% of the global ocean surface area) remain relatively flat. As discussed in my book, anthropogenic forcings are said to be responsible for most of the rise in global surface temperatures over this period, but the Sea Surface Temperature anomaly graphs of those two areas prompt a two-part question: Since 1982, what anthropogenic global warming processes would overlook the Sea Surface Temperatures of 33% of the global oceans and have an impact on the other 67% but only during the months of the significant El Niño events of 1986/87/88, 1997/98 and 2009/10?

STANDARD NOTE ABOUT THE DATA

Other than the East Pacific and Rest-of-the-World data shown immediately above, the MONTHLY graphs illustrate raw monthly OI.v2 sea surface temperature anomaly data from November 1981 to May 2013, as it is presented by the NOAA NOMADS website linked at the end of the post. NOAA uses the base years of 1971-2000 for this dataset. I’ve added the 13-month running-average filter to smooth out the seasonal variations.

MONTHLY INDIVIDUAL OCEAN AND HEMISPHERIC SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE UPDATES

05 No Hem

(5) Northern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

Monthly Change = -0.009 deg C

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

06 So Hem

(6) Southern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

Monthly Change = -0.015 deg C

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

07 No Atl

(7) North Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(0 to 70N, 80W to 0)

Monthly Change = -0.090 deg C

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08 So Atl

(8) South Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(0 to 60S, 70W to 20E)

Monthly Change = +0.171 deg C

Note: I discussed the (now apparently temporary) upward shift in the South Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature anomalies in the post The 2009/10 Warming Of The South Atlantic. Prior to that shift, the South Atlantic sea surface temperature anomalies had been relatively flat for about two decades. It now looks as though the South Atlantic sea surface temperature anomalies have dropped below the level they were at before that surge.

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

09 Pac

(9) Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(60S to 65N, 120E to 80W)

Monthly Change = -0.045 Deg C

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10 No Pac

(10) North Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(0 to 65N, 100E to 90W)

Monthly Change = +0.045 Deg C

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

11 So Pac

(11) South Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(0 to 60S, 120E to 70W)

Monthly Change = -0.096 deg C

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

12 Indian

(12) Indian Ocean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(60S to 30N, 20E to 120E)

Monthly Change = -0.065 deg C

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

13 Arctic

(13) Arctic Ocean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(65N to 90N)

Monthly Change = +0.017 deg C

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

14 Southern

(14) Southern Ocean Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

(90S-60S)

Monthly Change = -0.031 deg C

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

WEEKLY SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES

The NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature anomalies based on the week centered on June 5, 2013 are below zero but well above La Niña condition, which are defined by NOAA as being cooler than -0.5 deg C. They are presently at -0.11 deg C.

15 Weekly NINO3.4

(15) Weekly NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

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

Global sea surface temperature anomalies cooled a chunk over the past few weeks. They are at +0.151 deg C.

16 Weekly Global

(16) Weekly Global Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

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

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT HOW AND WHY THE GLOBAL OCEANS INDICATE THEY’VE WARMED NATURALLY?

Why should you be interested? The hypothesis of manmade global warming depends on manmade greenhouse gases being the cause of the recent warming. But the sea surface temperature record indicates El Niño and La Niña events are responsible for the warming of global sea surface temperature anomalies over the past 31 years, not manmade greenhouse gases. Scroll back up to the discussion of the East Pacific versus the Rest of the World. I’ve searched sea surface temperature records for more than 4 years, and I can find no evidence of an anthropogenic greenhouse gas signal. 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 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. (Paypal or Credit/Debit Card). You do not need to have a PayPal account. Simply scroll down to the purchase option Simply scroll down to the “Don’t Have a PayPal Account” purchase option. It’s only US$8.00.

SOURCES

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.

13 Responses to May 2013 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomaly Update

  1. Keitho says:

    Hi Bob, thanks again for your efforts in keeping all of the SST data straight and honest.

    I was wondering what is happening with the increasing temeratures in the Eastern Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas? Obviously the Caspian and Black seas have no real link to the rest and even the Eastern Med should be largely unaffected by happenings elsewhere. Do you have any thoughts?

  2. Bob Tisdale says:

    Hi Keitho. I don’t have any specific comments about the warming of the eastern European seas, other than it appears to be associated with the warm weather pattern in the region. Here’s the RSS TLT map for May 2013:

  3. Keitho says:

    Thanks Bob.

  4. Espen says:

    Keitho, here’s a detailed SST anomaly map for the Mediterranean sea (note that the time series charts don’t seem to get updated, but the map does get updated daily):
    http://gnoo.bo.ingv.it/mfs/B4G_indicators/SST_anomaly.htm

    The cold western and warm eastern Mediterranean are due to long lived weather patterns – see e.g. Weatherbell’s anomaly for 2013 so far: http://models.weatherbell.com/climate/ncep_cfsr_t2m_anom_ytd.png

  5. Keitho says:

    Thanks Espen, it is quite interesting how even a very constrained water body like the Med can have different anomalies between East and West without any tidal flows or even noticeable currents.

  6. Espen says:

    Bob, have you noticed the strong cold anomaly building up west of Japan lately? (very visible in the last few days here: http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom_new.gif) Is that the Kuroshio extension, or is it south of it? Have you seen similar patterns before?

  7. Espen says:

    (that should of course have been EAST of Japan :-))

  8. Bob Tisdale says:

    Espen: It seems to be a slight alteration of a somewhat regular pattern in June. There was a pattern that was kind of similar (not as intense), cool anomaly along the KOE, with the hot spot east of it, in June 2005 (The archive is in the old format):

    And in June 2008:

    And June 2009:

    The Unisys SST Archive is here:
    http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/
    Anomalies start about halfway down.

    Regards.

  9. Espen says:

    Thanks, Bob! There doesn’t seem to be any strong “teleconnection” to the ENSO state?

  10. Bob Tisdale says:

    Agreed, Espen. It seems it can occur after an El Nino or La Nina or ENSO-neutral season, and during a La Nina.

    Regards.

  11. phlogiston says:

    I’m wondering if there’s an issue with the baseline period in terms of defining current conditions as “el Nino” or “La Nina”. If the baseline period is something like 1970-2000, this period was dominated by a series of strong el Ninos. This means they are taking a smoothed el Nino state as the norm. Thus neutrality will appear like a La Nina.

    The BOM anomaly map for the Pacific has had a La Nina appearance for more than a year>

    http://www.bom.gov.au/fwo/IDYOC001.gif?1297119137

    Should we take a look at what is used as ENSO “reference” – it should not be a period dominated by el Nino or La Nina. Could ENSO extremes somehow be filtered out of a baseline reference? (Or maybe use a 100 year rather than 30 year baseline).

    Also I’ve been looking at the east Pacific temperature map animation for a while. It always ends the animation with a few days of prediction, and for the last 6 months or so the predicted tail of the animation has shown a big surge of cold upwelling at the east equatorial Pacific, signifying a swing to a full La Nina. But this surge does not happen and keeps on not happening. Its always predicted just in the future but the reality if you wait for it is just continuation of more or less static upwelling and a quite stable east equatorial cold tongue – not getting larger or smaller:

    Maybe the models tend to run off to La Nina or el Nino, while in fact we’re stuck in neutrality right now.

  12. Pingback: El Niño in the News | Bob Tisdale – Climate Observations

  13. Pingback: El Niño Research in the News | Watts Up With That?

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