PRELIMINARY October 2013 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Update

The week of data that had been missing from the weekly Reynolds OI.v2 data because of the government shutdown has been inserted.  Thank you, NOAA!!!

I’ve shortened the span of the weekly data.  As noted in the mid-April 2013 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 are continuing their decline from their seasonally highs.  The global sea surface temperature anomalies are presently at about +0.27 deg C.

Monthly Global SSTa

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, October 2013 NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies are a little below zero (about -0.25 deg C).  The threshold for an El Niño is considered to be warmer than or equal to +0.5 deg C and for a La Niña, it’s cooler than or equal to -0.5 deg C.  So the reading of -0.25 deg C indicates the tropical Pacific is in ENSO-neutral conditions.  Also refer to the weekly data that follows.

Monthly NINO3.4 SSTa

Monthly NINO3.4 SST Anomalies



Weekly NINO3.4 region (5S-5N, 170W-120W) sea surface temperature anomalies for the week centered on October 23, 2013 are below zero but not cooler than the threshold of a La Niña.  The weekly NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies were approximately -0.26 deg C.

Weekly NINO3.4 SSTa

Weekly NINO3.4 SST Anomalies


The weekly Global SST Anomalies have ended their sharp decline.  It’s likely a temporary stop on their way back down.  They are presently about +0.23 deg C.

Weekly Global SSTa

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 naturally occurring, sunlight-fueled, coupled ocean-atmosphere processes, not anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

Last year I published an ebook (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 31+ 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.  Sales of my books (and tips) allow me to continue to research data and climate models and to present my findings here and at WattsUpWithThat.



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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12 Responses to PRELIMINARY October 2013 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Update

  1. Pingback: September 2013 Global Surface (Land+Ocean) Temperature Anomaly Update | Bob Tisdale – Climate Observations

  2. Pingback: September 2013 Global Surface (Land+Ocean) Temperature Anomaly Update | Watts Up With That?

  3. Green Sand says:

    Hi Bob, many thanks for the update and all your sterling work.

    Help, can you shed any light on why Reynolds have posted a number for October a week early? Still data up to the 30th to come?

    Also any idea how the +0.27C is calculated? So far in Oct there have been 4 weekly numbers the highest being +0.26C on the 2nd followed by +0.25C (9th), +0.22C (16th), +0.23C (23rd). So a bit puzzled as to how the month can be higher than any of the component weeks. What am I missing?


  4. Bob Tisdale says:

    Green Sand: Unfortunately, I can’t answer your questions, because the numbers don’t seem to average out as you’ve noted. It almost looks as though they used a couple of the warmer weeks in September, like a mid-month split between September and October, but that wouldn’t make sense, Maybe things are skewed because of the shutdown. Hopefully, things will fall closer into line when the final number are published.

  5. Green Sand says:

    Many thanks Bob, will await the final number.

  6. jlurtz says:

    Hi Bob,

    I have been using this web site to track ocean surface currents and sea surface temperatures:

    One can watch the Gulf Stream [I feel that it is an indicator of overall ocean/atmospheric heat content] and see the changes as the Sun moves from +24 to -24.

    With the Antarctic not melting as fast as expected, it could be a precursor of La Nina. What do you think?


  7. Bob Tisdale says:

    Jerry, do you have a link to the specific webpage you’re looking at?


  8. jlurtz says:

    Enter “Atlantic Ocean” for many Atlantic ocean locations. Main Gulf Stream link ->

    One of many great temperature/current graphs. Select SST for sea surface temperatures.Or Currents for surface wind driven/heat driven currents.

  9. Bob Tisdale says:

    Thanks for all the links, Jerry. Okay. back to your original question which was, “With the Antarctic not melting as fast as expected, it could be a precursor of La Nina. What do you think?”

    I’ve never heard of a delay in Antarctic sea ice melt as a precursor to a La Nina. (That doesn’t mean one won’t develop, though, since we haven’t had a delay like that as far as I know. We’ll just have to watch and see.) But based on all of the usual ENSO indicators from the NOAA weekly update…

    Click to access enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

    ….I would tend to agree with NOAA that we’re looking at ENSO neutral this season.

    Regards, and thanks again for the links.

  10. Pete says:

    Bob hi

    I know we now have to reach deep into the past to give the warmists any hope, but its useful taking your graphs back to 96/97 so we can compare the el nino 98 period against all that has come since…

  11. Bob Tisdale says:

    Hi Pete: I delete the early portion of the weekly data so that the most recent wiggles will show. If I brought the weekly data back to 1996/97, they wouldn’t be as easy to make out. And for a longer-term look, I also show the monthly Reynolds OI.v2 data.


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