October 2016 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomaly Update

MONTHLY SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALY MAP

The following is a Global map of Reynolds OI.v2 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies for October 2016.  It was downloaded from the KNMI Climate Explorer. The contour range was set to -2.5 to +2.5 deg C and the anomalies are referenced to the WMO-preferred period of 1981-2010.

00-ssta-map

October 2016 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies Map

(Global SST Anomaly = +0.32 deg C)

MONTHLY GLOBAL OVERVIEW

The global Sea Surface Temperature anomaly for October 2016 shows basically no change since September. A downtick in the Northern Hemisphere (-0.05 deg C) was countered by an uptick in the Southern Hemisphere (+0.03 deg C). Last month, the North Pacific was the basin to show the most cooling (-0.07 deg C), while the South Pacific (+0.05 deg C) and the Southern Ocean (+0.06 deg C) showed the most warming.  Monthly sea surface temperature anomalies for the NINO3.4 continue to show weak La Niña conditions.    

The monthly Global Sea Surface Temperature anomalies are presently at +0.32 deg C, referenced to the WMO-preferred base years of 1981 to 2010.

01-global-ssta

(1)Global Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

Monthly Change = 0.00 deg C

THE EQUATORIAL PACIFIC

The monthly NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature anomalies for October 2016 are continuing to decline and continue to be below the threshold of a La Niña.  They were at -0.74 deg C, a decrease since the prior month…having declined about -0.12 deg C since September.  (Also see the Weekly data shown near the end of the post.)

02-nino3-4-ssta

(2) NINO3.4 Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

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

Monthly Change = -0.12 deg C

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The sea surface temperature anomalies for the NINO3.4 region in the east-central 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.

Also see the weekly values toward the end of the post.

INITIAL NOTES

Note 1: I’ve downloaded the Reynolds OI.v2 data from the KNMI Climate Explorer, using the base years of 1981-2010.  The updated base years help to reduce the seasonal components in the ocean-basin subsets—they don’t eliminate those seasonal components, but they reduce them.

Note 2: We discussed the reasons for the elevated sea surface temperatures in 2014 in the post On The Recent Record-High Global Sea Surface Temperatures – The Wheres and Whys.  For 2015, The Blob and the El Niño are responsible for the noticeable increases.  See General Discussion 3 – On the Reported Record High Global Surface Temperatures in 2015 – And Will Those Claims Continue in 2016? in my ebook On Global Warming and the Illusion of Control – Part 1.

Note 3:  I’ve moved the model-data comparison to the end of the post.

Note 4: I recently added a graph of the sea surface temperature anomalies for The Blob in the eastern extratropical North Pacific. It also is toward the end of the post.

Note 5:  The sea surface temperature data in this post is the original (weekly/monthly, 1-deg spatial resolution) version of NOAA’s Optimum Interpolation (OI) Sea Surface Temperature (SST) v2 (aka Reynolds OI.v2)…not the (over-inflated, out-of-the-ballpark, extremely high warming rate) high-resolution, daily version of NOAA’s Reynolds OI.v2 data, which we illustrated and discussed in the recent post On the Monumental Differences in Warming Rates between Global Sea Surface Temperature Datasets during the NOAA-Picked Global-Warming Hiatus Period of 2000 to 2014.

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 composite. 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 had warmed and where they had 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.

The North Atlantic (anomalies 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 NOAA Frequently Asked Questions About the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) webpage and the posts An 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 linked 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 composite is so low.  With the strong El Nino conditions in the eastern tropical Pacific and The Blob, it has acquired a slight positive trend, but it’s still far below the approximate +0.15 deg C/decade warming rate predicted by the CMIP5 climate models. Please see Figure 19 in the post Maybe the IPCC’s Modelers Should Try to Simulate Earth’s Oceans. (Note that the region also includes portions of the Arctic and Southern Oceans.)  That is, there has been little warming of the sea surfaces of the East Pacific (from pole to pole) in 3-plus decades.  The East Pacific is not a small region.  It represents about 33% of the surface area of the global oceans.

Notice how there appears to have been a strong El Niño event in 2014 in the East Pacific values, while there had only been a small event that year, and how the strong El Niño in 2015 caused a further rise.  Note also how there appears to have been a shift in 2013. Refer again to the post On The Recent Record-High Global Sea Surface Temperatures – The Wheres and Whys.

03-east-pacific-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 subset 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?

As you’ll note, the values for the South Atlantic, Indian and West Pacific Oceans appear now to be responding to the El Nino. And it appears we are seeing another El Niño-related uptick.

04-s-atl-indian-w-pac-ssta

(4) Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies of 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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NOTE:  I have updated the above illustration and following discussion, because NOAA has recently revised their Oceanic NINO Index…once again.  They’ve used the base years of 1986-2015 for the most recent data, which has resurrected the 2014/15 El Niño.

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, 2009/10 and 2015/16 are determined as follows.  Using the most recent 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 values that correspond 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.

You’ll note I’ve ended the updates for the period after the 2009-10 El Niño.  That was done to accommodate the expected response to the 2015/16 El Niño.

The Sea Surface Temperature anomalies of the East Pacific Ocean, or approximately 33% of the surface area of the global oceans, have shown comparatively little 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. See the blog post Everything You Every Wanted to Know about El Niño and La Niña… for an overview. It’s now free.  Click here for a copy.

STANDARD NOTE ABOUT THE REYNOLDS OI.V2 COMPOSITE

The MONTHLY graphs illustrate raw monthly OI.v2 sea surface temperature anomalies from November 1981 to October 2016, as it is presented by the KNMI Climate Explorer.  While NOAA uses the base years of 1971-2000 for this product, those base years cannot be used at the KNMI Climate Explorer because they extend before the start year of the product. (NOAA had created a special climatology for the Reynolds OI.v2 product.) I’ve referenced the anomalies to the period of 1981 to 2010, which is actually 1982 to 2010 for most months.

MONTHLY INDIVIDUAL OCEAN AND HEMISPHERIC SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE UPDATES

05-n-hem-ssta

(5) Northern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

Monthly Change = -0.05 deg C

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06-s-hem-ssta

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

Monthly Change = +0.03 deg C

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

07-n-atl-ssta

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

(0 to 70N, 80W to 0)

Monthly Change = -0.04 deg C

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

08-s-atl-ssta

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

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

Monthly Change = -0.01 deg C

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

09-pac-ssta

(9) Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

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

Monthly Change = -0.01 Deg C

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

10-n-pac-ssta

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

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

Monthly Change = -0.07 Deg C

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

11-s-pac-ssta

(11) South Pacific Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomalies

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

Monthly Change = +0.05 deg C

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

12-indian-ssta

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

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

Monthly Change = +0.03 deg C

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

13-arctic-ssta

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

(65N to 90N)

Monthly Change = +0.01 deg C

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

14-southern-ssta

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

(90S-60S)

Monthly Change = +0.06 deg C

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

WEEKLY SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES

Weekly NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies are at -0.9 deg C, which is below (“cooler” than) the threshold of La Niña conditions.  Based on the weekly Reynolds OI.v2 data, they peaked at a higher anomaly than the 1997/98 El Niño.  But as discussed in the post Is the Current El Niño Stronger Than the One in 1997/98?, the 1997/98 El Niño was a stronger East Pacific El Niño than the one taking place now. If you’d like to argue that this is the strongest El Niño EVER, also see the post The Differences between Sea Surface Temperature Datasets Prevent Us from Knowing Which El Niño Was Strongest According NINO3.4 Region Temperature Data.

15-weekly-nino3-4-ssta

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

You’ll note that I included a comparison of the evolutions of the NINO3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies for the 1997/98 and 2015/16 El Niños.  Just wanted to show that the transition this year toward La Niña has lagged behind the transition in 1998.

Note:  I’ve used the weekly NINO3.4 values available from the NOAA/CPC Monthly Atmospheric & SST Indices webpage, specifically the listing here.

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MODEL-DATA COMPARISON:  To counter the nonsensical “Just what AGW predicts” rantings of alarmists about the “record-high” global sea surface temperatures in 2014 and 2015, I’ve added a model-data comparison of satellite-era global sea surface temperatures to these monthly updates.  See the example below.  The models are represented the multi-model ensemble-member mean of the climate models stored in the CMIP5 archive, which was used by the IPCC for their 5th Assessment Report. For further information on the use of the model mean, see the post here. For most models, historic forcings run through 2005 (2012 for others) and the middle-of-the-road RCP6.0 forcings are used after in this comparison.  The data are represented by NOAA’s Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface Temperature data, version 2—a.k.a. Reynolds OI.v2—which is NOAA’s best.   The model outputs and data have been shifted so that their trend lines begin at “zero” anomaly for the (November, 1981) start month of this composite. That “zeroing” helps to highlight how poorly the models simulate the warming of the ocean surfaces…noticeably higher than the observed warming rate.  Both the Reynolds OI.v2 values and the model outputs of their simulations of sea surface temperature (TOS) are available to the public at the KNMI Climate Explorer.

000-model-data-comparison

000 – Model-Data Comparison

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THE BLOB

We discussed the demise of the short-term reappearance of The Blob in the post THE BLOB has Dissipated.  I’ll continue to present the sea surface temperature anomalies for The Blob region for one more month to show the enormous decline there since September.

16-the-blob-ssta

(16) The Blob

(40N-50N, 150W-130W)

Monthly Change = -1.19 deg C

Note: I’ve changed the coordinates for The Blob to 40N-50N, 150W-130W to agree with those used in the NOAA/NCEP Monthly Ocean Briefing. I had been using the coordinates of 35N-55N, 150W-125W for The Blob.

HURRICANE MAIN DEVELOPMENT REGION

The sea surface temperatures of the tropical North Atlantic are one of the primary factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of hurricanes.  I’ve recently added to the update the sea surface temperatures and anomalies for the hurricane main development region of the North Atlantic. It is often represented by the coordinates of 10N-20N, 80W-20W.  While hurricanes tend to form there, they can also form outside it.  While sea surfaces for the main development region are warmer than “normal”, there was nothing unusual about those levels in October.

17-mdr-ssta

(17) Hurricane Main Development Region

(10N-20N, 80W-20W)

Monthly Change (Anomalies) = 0.00 deg C

I’ve also included a graph of the October sea surface temperatures (not anomalies) for the Main Development Region.  It confirms that sea surface temperatures there are not unusually warm and that sea surface temperatures of the Main Development Region are above the 26 deg C threshold for hurricane formation, as they normally are during October.

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT HOW DATA SUGGEST THE GLOBAL OCEANS 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.

My e-book (pdf) about the phenomena called El Niño and La Niña is 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.

Who Turned on the Heat? is now free.  Click here for a copy.

A NEW BOOK AND IT’S ALSO FREE

I also published On Global Warming and the Illusion of Control (25MB .pdf) back in November 2015.  The introductory post is here.

SOURCES

The monthly Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies, the map and model outputs used in this post are available from the KNMI Climate Explorer.

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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.

One Response to October 2016 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomaly Update

  1. Thanks for your work, Bob.

    Dave Fair

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