PRELIMINARY December 2013 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Update


The December 2013 Reynolds OI.v2 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data through the NOAA NOMADS website won’t be official until Monday, January 6,, 2014. 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 December 2013 that the NOMADS website prepares based on incomplete data for the month. I’ve also included the weekly data through the week centered on December 25, 2013, but I’ve shortened the span of the weekly data. As noted in the recent 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 presently at about +0.196 deg C.  Based on the preliminary data, they dropped a chunk (a decline of about -0.07 deg C) since November.  It will be interesting to see how GISS, NCDC and the UKMO global land+sea surface temperature data respond to that major decline in the surface temperatures for 70% of the globe.

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.  See the illustration here for the location of the NINO3.4 region.  Based on the preliminary data, December 2013 NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies are a little above zero (about +0.11 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 +0.11 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 December 25, 2013 are below zero but nowhere near the threshold of a La Niña.  The weekly NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies were approximately -0.11 deg C.

Weekly NINO3.4 SSTa

Weekly NINO3.4 SST Anomalies


The weekly Global SST Anomalies have continued their decline from the high earlier this year.  They are presently about +0.18 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.

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 PRELIMINARY December 2013 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Update

  1. Mark Luhman says:

    When water covers most of the world the sea temperature will be the big mover. Why so call climate scientist cannot see that is beyond me.

  2. Ron Scubadiver says:

    Easy Mark, climate “scientists” only see what they want to see. Regulating CO2 fits the agenda of world government, the redistribution of wealth from the US to poor countries and the atheist environmentalists (neo pagans) who are afraid to eat spaghetti because it might contain GMO wheat.

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