Meteorological Annual Mean (Dec-Nov) Global Sea Surface Temperatures Set a Record High in 2014 By a Whopping…

Monthly sea surface temperature data from NOAA (ERSST.v3b) are available online well before the global land air+sea surface temperature suppliers (NASA GISS and NOAA NCDC) publish their monthly updates. In addition to annual (January to December) data, GISS also presents what is known as the Meteorological Annual Mean data, using the months of December to November. So, in advance of the release of the GISS and NCDC combined products, let’s see how the global sea surface temperatures in 2014 compare to the previous record high back in 1998, on a Meteorological Annual Mean basis, using the dataset employed by both suppliers (NOAA’s ERSST.v3b).  We’ll start the data presentations in 1997 to make the comparison easier, and I’ve also provided color-coded horizontal lines to show the 1998 (blue) and 2014 (red) values. Last, I’ve presented the data in absolute terms, not as anomalies, but that makes no difference.

QUICK NOTE FOR THOSE WHO ARE FIRST DISCOVERING THAT GLOBAL SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES ARE AT RECORD-HIGH LEVELS:  The record high global surface temperatures in 2014 are primarily a response to a prolonged weather event in the North Pacific. See the post here. Putting that in more familiar terms: You often hear meteorologists talking about a blocking high during a heat wave.  So it might be easier to think of the record high sea surface temperatures globally being caused by a prolonged blocking high in the extratropical North Pacific, south of Alaska.  [End note.]

As shown in Figure 1, global sea surface temperatures (based on NOAA’s ERSST.v3b dataset) from pole to pole were 0.02 deg C higher in (Dec to Nov) 2014 than they were in (Dec to Nov) 1998.   That’s read two one-hundredths of a deg C.  Two.  All of the hubbub this year boils down to two one-hundredths of a deg C.

Figure 1

Figure 1

But GISS masks (excludes) sea surface temperature data in the polar oceans, anywhere sea ice has existed.  And NCDC, as far as I know, excludes polar sea surface temperature data seasonally when there is sea ice in a grid.  So let’s take a look at global ocean data excluding the polar oceans, Figure 2.  That is, we’re looking at the data for the latitudes of 60S-60N.  And as you can see, on a Meteorological Annual Mean basis, 2014 surpassed 1998 by only 0.02 deg C for those latitudes as well with the NOAA ERSST.v3b data.

Figure 2

Figure 2

WHAT ABOUT NOAA’S SATELLITE-ENHANCED SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE DATASET, REYNOLDS OI.V2?

In 2008, NOAA introduced its ERSST.v3 data, which included satellite-data starting around 1982. NOAA quickly discovered the satellite-enhancements rearranged the record high years for their combined land+ocean data, making 1998 once again higher than one of the years in the early-to-mid 2000s.  If memory serves, the differences were measured in a few hundredths of a deg C.  But NOAA didn’t like that, so they removed the satellite-enhanced data from their long-term sea surface temperature reconstruction, making it a poorer-quality dataset, and renamed the dataset ERSST.v3b.

In 2013, GISS switched to NOAA’s ERSST.v3b sea surface temperature dataset from a combination of the UKMO HADISST data before the satellite era and Reynolds OI.v2 satellite-enhanced data starting in 1982. That of course increased the trend of the GISS data a small amount since 1900 and rearranged the highest temperature rankings in the 2000s a tiny amount in their GISS Land-Ocean Temperature Index (LOTI) data.

NOAA still supplies a satellite-enhanced sea surface temperature dataset.  It runs from November 1981 to present. It’s known as Reynolds OI.v2, and it’s the dataset I use in my monthly sea surface temperature anomaly updates.  (See the November 2014 update here.)  It’s the basis for many of the daily sea surface temperature anomaly maps you see online.

[sarc on] Good thing both data suppliers went to all the trouble to change sea surface temperature datasets.  On a “Meteorological Annual Mean” basis, the satellite-enhanced sea surface temperature data in 2014 was 0.01 deg C higher in 2014 than in 1998.  They gained one one-hundredth of a deg C by excluding the better-quality satellite-enhanced data. Whew!! [sarc off]

See Figures 3 and 4 for the global “Meteorological Annual Mean” sea surface temperatures from 1997 to 2014, with and without the polar oceans, based on the Reynolds OI.v2 data.

Figure 3

Figure 3

# # #

Figure 4

Figure 4

In a few days, GISS and NCDC will publish their November 2014 values. It will be interesting to see where they fall…and also see how alarmists try to make it appear as though the end of the world is near.

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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.
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58 Responses to Meteorological Annual Mean (Dec-Nov) Global Sea Surface Temperatures Set a Record High in 2014 By a Whopping…

  1. gymnosperm says:

    The record is caused by the NE Pacific joining The Indian and S. Atlantic in the only warming oceans club. The distribution current of anomaly along the North American coast smacks more of lack of upwelling than solar warming to my eye, but always remember that neither the dioxide monger’s well mixed radiative gas nor Willis’ “Why don’t it freeze?” can explain the uneven distribution of ocean warming.

  2. skeohane says:

    Thanks Bob. This is getting really silly with the y-axis at .25-.30°

  3. Bob Tisdale says:

    gymnosperm says: “The record is caused by the NE Pacific joining The Indian and S. Atlantic in the only warming oceans club.”

    I assume you’re referring to this graph.

    But contrary to what you’ve written, the extratropical North Pacific depth-averaged temperature has actually cooled during the ARGO era.

    That graph is from this post:
    https://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/axel-timmermann-and-kevin-trenberth-highlight-the-importance-of-natural-variability-in-global-warming/

  4. Thanks, Bob.
    I think 0.02 deg C looks like no change at all, and the global warming is still stopped.

  5. Frank says:

    Bob: Is there any difference in Pacific SST that explains the current Pineapple Express bring storms into California vs the previous winters of drought?

  6. Bob Tisdale says:

    Sorry, Frank. I haven’t studied the Pineapple Express.

  7. David Appell says:

    Global SSTs at record highs… Just what AGW predicts.

  8. David Appell says:

    Of course, Bob must block my comment, because he is afraid of the real science.

  9. so is this where the ‘missing heat’ went.. Into the Nth pacific?

  10. Bob Tisdale says:

    David Appell, you’re wrong once again. First off, I let your comment through this time, even though I banned you for wasting my time a while back…and still you insist on wasting my time.

    Second, climate models don’t simulate Earth’s oceans. They simulate some planet’s oceans, but they’re not Earth’s. Even with the warm sea surface temperatures this year, the models still double the warming rate of global ocean surfaces over the past 33 years:

    And the spatial patterns of the warming in the models are definitely wrong:

    Take it elsewhere, David. You’re just making a fool of yourself, and wasting my time. I’m trying to finish my next book so that, when people read the rantings of people like you, they know to laugh.

  11. Bob Tisdale says:

    weathercycles says: “so is this where the ‘missing heat’ went.. Into the Nth pacific?”

    You know better than that. The depth-averaged temperature (700m and 2000m) for the extratropical North Pacific has decreased, not increased, during the ARGO are:

    That graph is from the following post:
    https://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/axel-timmermann-and-kevin-trenberth-highlight-the-importance-of-natural-variability-in-global-warming/

  12. Bob Tisdale says:

    David Appell, PS: I believe I’ve advised you in the past that you’re invited to comment here, but only on a specific thread:
    https://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/a-thread-for-whiny-ass-trolls/

    Have a good day.

  13. Nate says:

    Bob,

    I appreciate that you are a detail-oriented guy. There are interesting details on this site.
    Taking this approach, the fair comparison to make between this meteorological mean and previous ones is to compare to years in which El-Nino was initiated, e.g. 1997 and 2009. If one does this you see that this year is well above 2009 (+0.07) and 1997 (+0.19).

  14. Bob Tisdale says:

    Nate, thanks for the compliment and the observations. The higher sea surface temperatures in 2014 are easily explained by the upward shifts in the sea surface temperatures of the South Atlantic, Indian, and West Pacific Oceans, in response to the 1997/98 El Nino and the 2009/10 El Nino….

    …and as the influence of the AMO on the North Atlantic, which look like it MIGHT HAVE recently peaked (2005-ish? tough to tell):

    The graphs are from the monthly SST update:
    https://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/november-2014-sea-surface-temperature-sst-anomaly-update/

    And for an overview of the long-term impacts of ENSO see:
    https://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/answer-to-the-question-posed-at-climate-etc-by-what-mechanism-does-an-el-nino-contribute-to-global-warming/

    Cheers.

  15. Jerry Howard says:

    This is terrible!

    .02 degrees in only 17 years. If this terrible runaway AGW keeps on happening at the current rate the world will be 1 whole degree hotter by the year 2862!

  16. Nate says:

    Bob,

    Thanks for the response. Very interesting following the links and the extended discussion about the upward steps after El Ninos/La Ninas. Would expect downward steps or gradual downward decays as well, but don’t see these. How do you understand this? AGW?

  17. Bob Tisdale says:

    Nate, there are gradual decays in the sea surface temperatures, but the next strong El Nino came before the decay was complete.

    And there were gradual decays in the ocean heat content of the tropical Pacific, between and after the 3-year La Ninas, with the El Ninos discharging more heat than the 1-year La Ninas replenished. But the 3-year La Nina of 1973-76 replenished more heat than had been discharged during the prior few decades, same thing with the freakish 1995/96 La Nina. Keep in mind, La Ninas use sunlight to replenish heat.

    Downward steps? We only have 33 years of satellite-enhanced SST data. If and when we see one, I’ll be the first to report on it. For ocean heat content, a downward shift would take a strong El Nino to discharge heat with no La Nina following it to replenish the heat lost by the El Nino.

    AGW? The warming of the oceans to depths of 700 meters since 1955 and the warming of the surface for the past 33 years can be explained without AGW. That would suggest a negative climate sensitivity for the oceans at this time, would it not?

  18. Nate says:

    Bob,

    My understanding is that ENSO is a cyclic process, with 3-5 year cycle. I thought the ocean has been in a warming trend for 50 years or more (NCDC and HDSST both show 50 year trend of 0.11/decade, ). Are you saying ENSO explains all of this? Are there 100 year cycles in ENSO?

  19. Bob Tisdale says:

    Nate: You need to better your understanding of ENSO.

    There are multidecadal variations in the strength, frequency and duration of ENSO events. We can see this by smoothing NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies with a 121-month running-mean filter.

    During the multidecadal periods when El Niño events dominate, the tropical Pacific is releasing more heat than normal to the atmosphere…and the tropical Pacific is distributing more warm water than normal from the tropical Pacific to adjoining ocean basins…and, through teleconnections, the tropical Pacific is causing more sunlight than normal to warm the surfaces and depths of the North Atlantic and Indian Oceans. All of those things contribute to long-term warming during the 20th Century.
    For the teleconnections portion of the above paragraph, see Trenberth and Fasullo (2011):
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/staff/trenbert/trenberth.papers/ISSI_fulltext.pdf
    They write:
    “But a major challenge is to be able to track the energy associated with such variations more thoroughly: Where did the heat for the 2009–2010 El Niño actually come from? Where did the heat suddenly disappear to during the La Niña? Past experience (Trenberth et al. 2002) suggests that global surface temperature rises at the end of and lagging El Niño, as heat comes out of the Pacific Ocean mainly in the form of moisture that is evaporated and which subsequently rains out, releasing the latent energy. Meanwhile, maximum warming of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans occurs about 5 months after the El Niño owing to sunny skies and lighter winds (less evaporative cooling), while the convective action is in the Pacific.”

  20. Bruce Richardson says:

    David Appell says:
    “Global SSTs at record highs… Just what AGW predicts.”

    David, can you provide an example of an event that wouldn’t be “just what AGW predicts”?

    We are at the warm end of a long-term warming trend. That may be a continuation of the warming in fits and starts that ended the Little Ice Age. Most the record that you are comparing to would naturally be cooler. Normal temperature excursions could easily set a record high. Particularly considering that the latter half of the 20th Century saw unusually high levels of solar activity. Temperature excursions at the warm end could not set record lows because most of the temperature record would be cooler.

  21. catweazle666 says:

    “Bob must block my comment, because he is afraid of the real science.”

    Apple, you wouldn’t recognise real science if it ran under your wet, slimy bridge, jumped up, and bit you on the snout.

  22. Frank says:

    Bob: I asked about the Pineapple Express because I’m not sure the current one is a “weather event” (a chaotic pattern in the atmosphere) or a “seasonal climate event”, driven mostly by chaotic anomalies in Pacific SSTs that last for months and drastically alter the likelihood of such events. One possible answer would be to qualitatively SST anomalies in November or early December in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and perhaps the last time a Pineapple Express did hit California.

  23. Nate says:

    Bob,

    Ok that is interesting. Your graph does have some similarities to 20th century Haddsst, except for the 1960’s. But maybe this effect modulates an AGW warming trend. That’s how it looks anyway. Do you have a quantitative estimate of how much warming this effect should produce?

    After all isn’t the normal effect on global temperature of an El Nino ~1/10 of the 3.4 anomally?? So the extra 0.15 you show during the high periods would roughly translate to 0.015??

  24. Bob Tisdale says:

    Nate: I’ll have to get back to you sometime tomorrow.

  25. Bob Tisdale says:

    Nate, in my earlier comment, I wrote with respect to the illustration identified as Figure 3-129:

    During the multidecadal periods when El Niño events dominate, the tropical Pacific is releasing more heat than normal to the atmosphere…and the tropical Pacific is distributing more warm water than normal from the tropical Pacific to adjoining ocean basins…and, through teleconnections, the tropical Pacific is causing more sunlight than normal to warm the surfaces and depths of the North Atlantic and Indian Oceans. All of those things contribute to long-term warming during the 20th Century.

    Now let me add: Those are cumulative contributions.

    Additionally, it appears based on your comment you’ve done a regression analysis to determine the impacts of ENSO on surface temperatures. Well, for many years I’ve been showing that you can do that for the surface temperatures of the East Pacific Ocean, but you can’t do it for the South Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific subset:

    Or the North Atlantic:

    Those graphs are from the following post:
    https://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/how-much-of-an-impact-does-the-atlantic-multidecadal-oscillation-have-on-arctic-sea-ice-extent/

    Because the sea surface temperature anomalies of the South-Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific subset do not cool proportionally during the highlighted La Ninas (that followed the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Ninos), the sea surface temperatures shifted upwards…a response to all of the warm water released by those El Niños, and redistributed in their wakes.

    The sea surface temperatures of the North Atlantic failing to cool proportionally during those same La Ninas also contributes to the excessive warming in the North Atlantic…a warming that is normally attributed to the AMO.

  26. Dear Dr Tisdale, could you please, please, for the at least the most important graph in your posts, could you please plot the post on the scale of a home thermostat.

    That is, could you plot the anomalies on the scale of 10C to 30C. Then, I, we, can place a small copy of it in our wallets to be pull out & shown to a Warmist, CAGW, believer, potential convert, exactly the ridiculous argument that we are being asked to believe.

  27. Bob Tisdale says:

    GogogoStopSTOP, thanks but there’s no Dr. before my name. Bob will do fine.

    I like the idea and will try to remember to post it later in the week.

    Cheers

  28. Bob Tisdale says:

    It’s unfortunate that one of the bloggers at HotWhopper linked an archived version of this thread because now they won’t see this graph, which I’ve posted numerous times:

  29. Nate says:

    Bob,

    ‘Now let me add: Those are cumulative contributions.’

    Well, there still needs to be continual energy input-there has to be an increase in energy flux to all the surface regions, that is maintained and even increased throughout the 20th century. Otherwise the increase in outgoing radiation, due to the temperature rise, would bring temps back down to their former state.

    Your model could explain ups and downs in temperature -but I see ups and plateaus in the temperature record, no significant downturns. Even the current 10 years, in your picture, this ought to be a period of decreasing temperature. Instead we have a plateau or slight increase.

    Also any model, to be taken seriously, should make quantitative predictions, that can be checked, otherwise its just an idea. Like it or not AGW models are quantitative and can be tested and modified if not accurate.

  30. Bob Tisdale says:

    Nate, regarding your first paragraph: You appear to be a true-blue believer in AGW. Look again at what I’ve presented, and try to think of it in another light. As the outputs of a chaotic, naturally occurring, sunlight-fueled, recharge-discharge oscillator, strong ENSO events simply bump the radiative imbalance up to the “next level”. The radiative imbalance isn’t great enough (for whatever reason, possibly due to inherent feedbacks) for the radiative imbalance itself to contribute to the long term warming. As a result, the global surface temperatures do a Trenberth “big jump”. That’s basically what I’ve been showing for almost 6 years.

    Now consider the graph of DSR just above your last comment.

    Regarding your second paragraph, where does it say my role in this discussion is to create models? My role, as I see it, is to illustrate and discuss how ENSO is not simply noise in the instrument temperature record…that ENSO contributed (along with other coupled ocean-atmosphere processes), and will continue to contribute, to global warming, both at the surface and below the surface of the global oceans. There will be periods when natural processes contribute to global warming and there will be periods when they don’t.

    Trenberth finally picked up on what I’ve been saying. He started to repeat it…though in different words.

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  33. Stephen Richards says:

    Bob, I have no idea why you bother with the rotten apple. He’s a waste of space.

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