Nothing Unprecedented about The Sea Surface Temperatures for Tropical Storm-Hurricane Florence’s Full Storm Track

It’s been a couple of weeks since Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 storm. The weakening from a Category 4 storm must’ve really tweaked alarmists.

NOAA just updated their much-adjusted ERSST.v5 sea surface temperature dataset to include September 2018 data. So let’s take a look at the September sea surface temperature anomalies for Florence’s full storm track.  Keep in mind, these are preliminary data from NOAA. That is, if you were to check these results in a number of months, the September 2018 value might be different. The reason: the high-frequency filtering applied to NOAA’s ERSST.v5 sea surface temperature data.  See Huang et al. 2017. Thus the notes in blue on the time-series graphs that follow.

NOTE:  Please understand that I am not attempting to make light of the losses in life and property, or other sufferings, associated with Hurricane Florence. This post is solely intended to provide a reference for those who would like to use real data to counter the typical alarmist nonsense normally spread during and after natural disasters like Florence…alarmist nonsense spread by the mainstream media, by enviro-profiteers, by brainwashed gullible persons, by activist climate scientists who wallow in government funding, and by politicians (Eek, it’s an election year!). [End note.]

We all realize the sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic near to the coast of the Carolinas were higher-than-normal. But, obviously, sea surface temperatures are not the only thing to dictate the strength of hurricanes.  This should have become blatantly obvious when Florence weakened significantly in its last few days over the North Atlantic, back to a category 1 storm, before making landfall.  According to Dr. Judith Curry’s discussion here, the weakening before landfall was caused by wind shear. Thank you, wind shear…and thank you, too, Judith.

Many persons ignore the eastern portion of Florence’s earlier storm track where the sea surface temperatures were well below normal. In this post, I’m presenting the sea surface temperature anomalies for the entire track, the warmer-than-normal and cooler-than-normal portions combined.  And as you’ll soon discover, there was nothing unprecedented about the sea surface temperatures for Florence’s full storm track.

Figure 1 is a map that shows the full storm track of Tropical Storm-Hurricane Florence. I’ve highlighted the three regions I’ve used for its full track.  They are 12.5N-22.5N, 42.5W-22.5W for the southeastern portion, where Florence formed; 17.5N-37.5N, 60W-42.5W for the central part; and 25N-35N, 80W-60W for the northwestern, closer-to-shore portion.

Figure 1

For the graph that follows in Figure 2, I’ve provided a weighted average of the three grids, where the northwestern (25N-35N, 80W-60W) grid is weighted at 34.8%, and the central (17.5N-37.5N, 60W-42.5W) grid is weighted 30.4%, and the southeastern (15N-25N, 42.5W-22.5W) grid is weighted at 34.8%. That is, the southeast and northwest portions of the storm track are weighted the same, while the center portion is weighted a little less.

Figure 2 is a time-series graph of the sea surface temperature anomalies for the full storm track of Florence, with the data for the three regions weighted and averaged as discussed above. The September 2018 anomaly was a not-so-alarming +0.26 deg C above the 1981 to 2010 average.

Figure 2

In other words, as the title of the post reads there was nothing unprecedented about the sea surface temperatures for Florence’s full storm track.  That value has been regularly achieved as far back as the 1940s and the late 1800s.


Figures 3, 4 and 5 present the ERSST.v5-based long-term sea surface temperature anomaly data for the three regions individually. As you’ll see, the September 2018, sea surface temperature anomalies were not unprecedented in any of the regions used of Florence’s storm track.

Figure 3

# # #

Figure 4

# # #

Figure 5


When I published my short story Dad, Is Climate Getting Worse in the United States?, I promised myself I would never present any of the graphs from it in a blog post. Well, I’m about to break that promise to myself so that I can answer the above question.  See Exhibit 02 below from that short story.

Exhibit 02 from Dad, Is Climate Getting Worse in the United States?

The 10-year period ending in 1942 had the highest 10-year average, of course. On a decade basis, basically, the 1930s had the highest number of hurricanes making landfall on the continental United States. And please notice, the recent 10-year averages are roughly half (and less than half) the peak value.  The source of the data is the The Hurricane Research Division of the NOAA Atlantic Ocean Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), specifically the table with data titledContinental United States Hurricane Impacts/Landfalls 1851–2017” at their website here [archived here].

Hmm, the 1930s also had the worst drought conditions across the contiguous U.S. and the highest high temperatures there as well, as also illustrated and discussed in Dad, Is Climate Getting Worse in the United States?. Yet some parties would like everyone to believe that climate is getting worse in the United States.  Ha ha ha ha ha!   And keep in mind the Great Depression was also taking place in the 1930s.  Oy!

As many of you know, this year I published 2 ebooks that are available through Amazon in Kindle format:


Don’t have a Kindle reader? No problem.  See the Get the free Kindle app webpage.

READ THEM FOR “FREE”?  Both of those Kindle ebooks are now available through Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, so if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime, you can read the books at no additional cost.

To those of you who have purchased them or downloaded them, thank you very much. To those who haven’t, please do.  You might even learn something. I always learn stuff while preparing my books.

Enjoy your day!


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 Hurricanes, SST Update. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Nothing Unprecedented about The Sea Surface Temperatures for Tropical Storm-Hurricane Florence’s Full Storm Track

  1. Dave Fair says:

    Thanks for your continued good work, Bob.

    Dave Fair

  2. oldbrew says:

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    The title speaks for itself. Bob Tisdale dismantles the extravagant climate claims…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s