May 2014 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomaly Update

THE EQUATORIAL PACIFIC

The monthly sea surface temperature anomalies across the entire central and eastern equatorial Pacific have reached El Niño conditions with anomalies in excess of +0.5 deg C.   While El Niño conditions exist now, we are presently not experiencing an “official” El Niño event.  Sea surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific must remain at the elevated levels for a number of months before NOAA proclaims an “official” El Niño event.  Keep in mind, last year in 2013, the equatorial Pacific fluctuated back and forth between positive and negative anomalies, and that 3 months ago the eastern equatorial Pacific was experiencing La Niña-like conditions.  Sea surface temperature anomalies for the central and eastern equatorial Pacific have increased drastically in those 3 months in response to westerly wind bursts, the Kelvin wave, and the resulting upwelling of the warmer-than-normal subsurface waters.  See the 2014/15 El Niño series of posts, starting at the first one, for a detailed discussion of the evolution of this likely El Niño.

The NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature anomalies for May 2014 are just above the +0.5 deg C threshold of El Nino conditions.  They are presently at +0.54 deg C, having risen about 0.2 deg C in the last month.

02 NINO3.4 SSTa

(2) NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

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

Monthly Change = +0.212 deg C

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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.  We present NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies in monthly and weekly formats in these updates.

The monthly values for the other primary NINO regions are listed below, from west to east:

  • NINO4 (5S-5N, 160E-150W) = +0.91 Deg C
  • NINO3 (5S-5N, 150W-90W) = +0.63 Deg C
  • NINO1+2 (10S-0, 90W-80W) = +1.25 Deg C

Also see the weekly NINO3.4 data toward the end of the post.

MONTHLY SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALY MAP

The following is a Global map of Reynolds OI.v2 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies for May 2014.  It was downloaded from the NOMADS website. The contour levels are set at 0.5 deg C, and white is set at zero.

00 Map

May 2014 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies Map

(Global SST Anomaly = +0.32 deg C)

MONTHLY OVERVIEW

Global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies rose last month, an increase of about +0.02 deg C from March to May…with a good amount of warming in the Northern Hemisphere.  It was only partly offset by slight cooling of the surface of the Southern Hemisphere.  The most significant warming took place once again in the North Pacific, with a surge of about +0.08 deg C.  That rise was partly offset by the Indian Ocean, where the surfaces dropped about -0.05 deg C.  The monthly Global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies are presently at +0.321 deg C.

01 Global SSTa

(1) Global Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

Monthly Change = +0.016 deg C

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THE EAST PACIFIC VERSUS THE REST OF THE WORLD

NOTE:  This section of the updates has been revised.  We discussed the reasons for the changes in the post Changes to the Monthly Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Updates.

For years, we have shown and discussed that the surfaces of the global oceans have not warmed uniformly during the satellite era of sea surface temperature data. In fact, some portions of the global oceans have cooled during that 3+ decade period.   One simply has to look at a trend map for the period of 1982 to 2013 to see where the ocean surfaces have warmed and where they have not.  Yet the climate science community has not addressed this.  See the post Maybe the IPCC’s Modelers Should Try to Simulate Earth’s Oceans.

01 Trend Map

Trend Map – 1982 to 2013

The North Atlantic (data illustrated later in the post) has had the greatest warming over the past 3+ decades, but the reason for this is widely known.  The North Atlantic has an additional mode of natural variability called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.  If you’re not familiar with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation see the NOAAFrequently Asked Questions About the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) webpage and the postsAn Introduction To ENSO, AMO, and PDO — Part 2 and Multidecadal Variations and Sea Surface Temperature Reconstructions.  As a result of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, the surface of the North Atlantic warmed at a rate that was more than twice the rate of the surface of the rest of the global oceans.  See the trend comparison graph here.

The East Pacific Ocean also stands out in the trend map above.  Some portions of its surfaces warmed and others cooled.  It comes as no surprise then that the linear trend of the East Pacific (90S-90N, 180-80W) Sea Surface Temperature anomalies since the start of the Reynolds OI.v2 dataset is so low it’s basically flat. (Note that the region also includes portions of the Arctic and Southern Oceans.)  That is, there has been little to no warming of the sea surfaces of the East Pacific (from pole to pole) in 32 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 doesn’t vary greatly between El Niño and La Niña events.

03 East Pac SSTa

(3) East Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

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

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That leaves the largest region of the trend map, which includes the South Atlantic, the Indian and West Pacific Oceans, with the corresponding portions of the Arctic and Southern Oceans.  Sea surface temperatures there warmed 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.  I further described the ENSO-related processes that cause these upward steps in the recent post Answer to the Question Posed at Climate Etc.: By What Mechanism Does an El Niño Contribute to Global Warming?

04 S. Atl-Ind-W. Pac SSTa

(4) Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies For The South Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific Oceans

(Weighted Average of 0-90N, 40E-180 @ 27.9% And 90S-0, 80W-180 @72.1%)

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The periods used for the average temperature anomalies for the South Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific subset 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 South Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific Oceans, then deleted the South Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific data that corresponds to those significant El Niño events.  I then averaged the South Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific Oceans sea surface temperature anomalies between those El Niño-related gaps.  The “Nov 2010 to Present” average varies with each update.

The Sea Surface Temperature anomalies of the East Pacific Ocean, or approximately 33% of the surface area of the global oceans, have shown little to no long-term warming since 1982 based on the linear trend. And between upward shifts, the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies for the South Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific subset (about 52.5% of the global ocean surface area) remain relatively flat, though they actually cool slightly.  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 regions discussed above 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 52% but only during the months of the significant El Niño events of 1986/87/88, 1997/98 and 2009/10?

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 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.It’s now sale priced at US$5.00.  Please click here to buy a copy. (Paypal or Credit/Debit Card.  You do not need to open a PayPal account.)

STANDARD NOTE ABOUT THE DATA

The MONTHLY graphs illustrate raw monthly OI.v2 sea surface temperature anomaly data from November 1981 to May 2014, 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 N. Hem SSTa(5) Northern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

Monthly Change = +0.071 deg C

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06S. Hem SSTa

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

Monthly Change = -0.026 deg C

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

07 N. Atl SSTa

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

(0 to 70N, 80W to 0)

Monthly Change = +0.031 deg C

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

08 S. Atl SSTa

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

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

Monthly Change = -0.008 deg C

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

09 Pac SSTa

(9) Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

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

Monthly Change = +0.037 Deg C

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

10 N. Pac SSTa

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

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

Monthly Change = +0.081 Deg C

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

11 S. Pac SSTa (11) South Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

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

Monthly Change = +0.023 deg C

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

12 Ind SSTa

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

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

Monthly Change = -0.050 deg C

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

13 Arctic SSTa

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

(65N to 90N)

Monthly Change = -0.002 deg C

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

14 Southern SSTa

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

(90S-60S)

Monthly Change = -0.003 deg C

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

WEEKLY SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES

Weekly NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies have fallen slightly in the last week.

15 Weekly NINO3.4 SSTa

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

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

Weekly global sea surface temperature anomalies continued the decline since the peak a few weeks ago. They are now at +0.29 deg C. [Fixed typo on graph. Thanks, Andy.]

16 Weekly Global SSTa

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

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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 32 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 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 “Don’t Have a PayPal Account” purchase option. It’s now sale priced at US$5.00.

SOURCES

The Sea Surface Temperature anomaly data used in this post is available through the NOAA NOMADS website (Both NOMAD2 and NOMAD3 websites have been down recently, which leaves us with NOMAD1):

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

 

 

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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.

11 Responses to May 2014 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomaly Update

  1. Pamela Gray says:

    Bob, is your lagged El Nino combined with Atlantic etc anomaly graph (4) an original descriptive analysis conceived and authored by you? I consider it a noteworthy advance at least on the same scale as the discovered PDO if not beyond it.

  2. Bob Tisdale says:

    Pamela, yes that’s authored by me. But I have to ask, what’s “the discovered PDO”, as opposed to the regular old PDO, considering, I assume, you know of my writings on the PDO:
    https://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2014/04/20/the-201415-el-nino-part-5-the-relationship-between-the-pdo-and-enso/

    Cheers

  3. Retired Engineer John says:

    Bob, your “May 2014 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies Map” and a second Anomalies Map are blank on my computer.

  4. Retired Engineer John says:

    Both maps have correctly loaded now.

  5. Bob Tisdale says:

    Retired Engineer John, I run into the same problem occasionally with posts that contain a lot of illustrations. I assume you’ve discovered that you need to refresh the page to cure it.

    Cheers.

  6. Pamela Gray says:

    My comment about the PDO related to its discovery history (which I know you did not have a hand in but you explain it so well), its components accidently uncovered by Steven R. Hare as an oscillation in ocean salmon fishing logs. There have been too numerous to count articles on research at sea and on land connected to that oscillation, including insects and Rocky Mountain Elk in addition to marine animals. I don’t know who authored the statistical description of that oscillation. However, I think the PDO discovery was one of the bigger ones in terms of impact on the scientific literature regarding ocean oscillations.

    My connection I made to you is that I think your lagged SST graph is similar in that you have found a way to statistically describe ocean heat response in relation to El Nino events. This metric may turn out to be a major find and could one day sit alongside the other descriptive metrics now standard in our understanding of oceanic and atmospheric processes and oscillations.

  7. Bob Tisdale says:

    Thank you for the kind words, Pamela Gray.

  8. Thanks, Bob. Very good analysis.
    It is good to see the time factor being considered in Earth’s weather/climate system.

  9. Andy says:

    Bob, your weekly graph shows a 0.31 deg C anomaly, but in the text below you say it is a 0.29 deg C anomaly. Which one is correct? Thank you.

  10. Bob Tisdale says:

    Andy, thanks for catching the typo. Unfortunately, the graph was wrong. That takes a little more work to correct, but it’s now fixed.

  11. goldminor says:

    That is a great set of informative graphs. Thanks for sharing all the hard work.

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