Mid-September 2013 Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Update

Being an ENSO-neutral year, there’s nothing too exciting for this update — other than the unusual warming event in North Pacific. As shown, it has peaked and sea surface temperatures there are falling. We’ll just have to see where they bottom out during the seasonal cycle in the North Pacific anomaly data. An odd thought occurred to me about that warming, a strange coincidence with the warming event in the South Atlantic a couple of years ago. I’ll discuss it in a separate post.

Weekly Extratrop No Pac

Weekly Extratropical North Pacific

Global sea surface temperature anomalies are at about +0.29 deg C for the week centered on September 18th, compared to the base years of 1971-2000. They were driven upwards this summer by the North Pacific.

Weekly Global

Weekly Global

The sea surface temperature anomalies of the NINO3.4 region in the equatorial Pacific (5S-5N, 170W-120W) are a commonly used metric for the frequency, strength and duration of El Niño and La Niña events. For the week centered on Wednesday September 18, 2013, they were at about 0.0 deg C. That is, there aren’t El Niño or La Niña conditions, which have thresholds of +0.5 deg C and -0.5 deg C, respectively.

Weekly NINO3.4

Weekly NINO3.4

But sea surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific are still quite cool, though they have warmed in recent weeks. The NINO1+2 region is bordered by the coordinates of 10S-0, 90W-80W, and its sea surface temperature anomalies are approximately -0.69 deg C.

Weekly NINO1+2

Weekly NINO1+2


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 I’ve searched ocean heat content records for more than 3 years, and I can find no evidence of an anthropogenic greenhouse gas signal. That is, the data indicates the warming of the global oceans has been caused by Mother Nature, not anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

For a further discussion, see the essay (pdf) titled The Manmade Global Warming Challenge. (It’s 42MB, but it’s free and worth the download time.)

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

Please buy a copy. (Credit/Debit Card through PayPal. You do NOT need to open a PayPal account.) Simply scroll down to the “Don’t Have a PayPal Account” purchase option. It’s only US$8.00.


For those who’d like a more detailed preview of Who Turned on the Heat?, see Parts 1 and 2 of the video series The Natural Warming of the Global Oceans.


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 SST Update. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Mid-September 2013 Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Update

  1. kuhnkat says:

    See that spike in the North Pacific?? That is Trenberth’s heat leaving! 8>)

  2. Bob Tisdale says:

    kuhnkat, we’ll have to wait for the ocean heat content data and that won’t be available for another couple of months.

  3. kuhnkat says:

    Just kidding!!

    Trenberth et. al. says it is in the deep ocean so shouldn’t come back till invited!!

  4. MJFriesen says:

    Hi Bob, I’m trying to reproduce your first graph shown above, labelled with heading “Extratropical North Pacific Sea Surface Anomalies”. I can’t quite get there; here are the steps I’ve employed.

    1) on KNMI climate explorer, click to Monthly Observations
    2) next, click SST category “1982… Reynolds OI v2”
    3) next, put latitude as 24N – 65N
    4) next, put longitude as 100E – 260E (this corresponds to your label of 100E – 100W)
    5) then click “Time Series”

    I find I don’t get the same cyclic appearance you get, although I do get the recent spike to about 0.8 anomaly. Have I missed a step or click somewhere? Thanks – much appreciated

  5. Bob Tisdale says:

    MJFriesen: Good find. I’m glad you mentioned it. From your description, you’ve done nothing wrong.

    About why you’re not seeing the massive seasonal cycles at the KNMI Climate Explorer, there are two factors a play. First, I’ve presented weekly data above, and at the KNMI Climate Explorer, you’re looking monthly data, so the monthly data smooths out the variations a bit. See my example of the Monthly sea surface temperature anomalies of the Extratropical North Atlantic:

    It’s from this post:

    Second, at their NOMADS website, NOAA presents anomalies based on a special climatology they prepared for the Reynolds OI.v2 data. They use the base years of 1971-2000. At the KNMI Climate Explorer, you can’t use the same base years because the data doesn’t extend back to 1971, so you’re seeing anomalies calculated from the base years of 1982-2010.. Using more recent base years also cuts down on the seasonal cycles in the anomalies of the Extratropical North Pacific.

    Thanks for checking my results.


  6. MJFriesen says:

    Got it. So the higher resolution (weekly) is available from NOAA directly, along with a different base calc for the anomaly. From KNMI, we only have monthly frequency and a different more limited base set for the anomalies. And, I will read your August 6th post in more detail. Thanks again.

  7. Bob Tisdale says:

    MJFriesen, for long term datasets, KNMI allows you to select the base years you want, so I don’t know that I’d call them “more limited”. You still have a choice of base years at the KNMI Climate Explorer, where you can’t change them at NOMADS.


  8. Kristian says:


    You’ve noted earlier the striking step change of about 0.09C in HadSST2gl compared to the other main global SSTa datasets occurring at the data source seam of 1997/98.

    But what on Earth have the people at the Hadley Centre been up to regarding the Arctic sea surface temperature anomalies in constructing and maintaining their newer and allegedly ‘improved’ dataset HadSST3? A sudden and major shift up of about 0.33C (!) from one month to the next can be seen here in the yellow HadSST3 90-60N curve relative to the equivalent black OI.v2 curve, taking place in late 2000:

    Do you know of any changes in data source around that particular time? Or is this an instance of simple revisionism?

    It is also very interesting to note how GISS LOTI with 250km smoothing and HadCRUt3 (adjusted down 0.064C post Jan’98 to amend the artificial step change pointed to above) end up almost identical within the 60N-60S zone:

    And if you simply apply OI.v2 SSTa data rather than land temperature extrapolations in the Arctic and Antarctic, then the 90N-90S graphs end up pretty close too:

  9. Bob Tisdale says:

    Kristian: It almost appears as though you are presenting data with different base years in your .gif animation. You may want to check the trends to see how close they are.


  10. Kristian says:

    Here are the individual graphs from the animation, courtesy of the KNMI Climate Explorer:

    Base years are 1981-2010 in both cases. Linear trends: HadSST3 +0.352 C/decade; OI.v2 +0.161 C/decade.

  11. Bob Tisdale says:

    Hi Kristian: The ICOADS data (60N-90N) for Nov 1981 to July 2013 shows a liner trend of 0.32 deg C/decade, while HADSST 3 shows a warming rate of 0.35 deg C/decade. Versus Reynolds OI.v2 at 0.16 deg C/decade.

    So, I wouldn’t say it’s all the UKMO’s fault.

    Great find!!

  12. Kristian says:

    But didn’t UKMO change from ICOADS to NCEP-GTS in 1998?

  13. Bob Tisdale says:

    Kristian, wasn’t that HADSST2?

  14. Kristian says:

    It was. So what you’re saying is, when moving on to HadSST3, the UKMO went back to using ICOADS even after 1998? If so, that would be interesting in itself…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s