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Monday, December 7, 2009

November 2009 SST Anomaly Update

I’ve moved to WordPress.  This post can now be found at November 2009 SST Anomaly Update
NINO3.4 SST Anomalies Rose Well Into Strong El Nino Territories, but Global SST Anomalies Have Not Responded Yet.

The map of Global OI.v2 SST anomalies for November 2009 downloaded from the NOMADS website is shown below.
November 2009 SST Anomalies Map (Global SST Anomaly = +0.261 deg C)


Global SST anomalies dropped slightly (- 0.013 deg C) between October and November, with the rise in the Southern Hemisphere (+0.022 deg C) overwhelmed by the drop in the Northern Hemisphere (-0.059 deg C). The equatorial Pacific has now reached strong El Nino conditions (Monthly NINO3.4 SST Anomaly = +1.67 deg C and Weekly NINO3.4 SST Anomaly = +1.68 deg C). Monthly NINO3.4 SST anomalies rose +0.63 in November, while the weekly data shows NINO3.4 SST anomalies have been flat for the past few weeks. (This does NOT mean NINO3.4 SST Anomalies have reached their peak for the year.)
Monthly Change = -0.013 deg C
NINO3.4 SST Anomaly
Monthly Change = +0.63 deg C


I’ve added the East Indian-West Pacific SST Anomaly data well in advance of when any evidence of a step change would occur. (I’m trying to draw attention to the atypical response.) Using the 1986/87/88 and 1997/98 El Nino events as references, East Indian-West Pacific SST Anomalies peak about 7 to 9 months after the peak of the NINO3.4 SST anomalies, so we shouldn’t expect any visible sign of a step change for almost 18 to 24 months. We’ll just have to watch and see.
East Indian-West Pacific (60S-65N, 80E-180)
Monthly Change = +0.017 deg C


The MONTHLY graphs illustrate raw monthly OI.v2 SST anomaly data from November 1981 to November 2009.

Northern Hemisphere
Monthly Change = -0.059 deg C
Southern Hemisphere
Monthly Change = +0.022 deg C
North Atlantic (0 to 75N, 78W to 10E)
Monthly Change = -0.054 deg C
South Atlantic (0 to 60S, 70W to 20E)
Monthly Change = -0.011 deg C
North Pacific (0 to 65N, 100 to 270E, where 270E=90W)
Monthly Change = -0.039 Deg C
South Pacific (0 to 60S, 145 to 290E, where 290E=70W)
Monthly Change = +0.076 deg C
Indian Ocean (30N to 60S, 20 to 145E)
Monthly Change = -0.02 deg C
Arctic Ocean (65 to 90N)
Monthly Change = -0.107 deg C
Southern Ocean (60 to 90S)
Monthly Change = -0.055 deg C


The weekly NINO3.4 SST anomaly data illustrate OI.v2 data centered on Wednesdays. The latest weekly NINO3.4 SST anomalies are +1.68 deg C.
Weekly NINO3.4 (5S-5N, 170W-120W)

The Optimally Interpolated Sea Surface Temperature Data (OISST) are available through the NOAA National Operational Model Archive & Distribution System (NOMADS).


John said...

Bob -

Thanks for the update - these are definitely the posts I love to read. I know it's your blog and you can do what you want with it, but I find your impact to be strongest on these data-driven articles (like this and the immediately preceding one). It's totally your right to post articles pointing out funny things with ads or inconsistencies with statements by the pro-AGW side, but, in my opinion, that should be left for places like WUWT or icecap. It generates too much emotion.

I just wanted to give my two cents and again say thank you for your ocean/ENSO analysis. Please feel free to disregard it, but I had to mention my thoughts.

John said...

Also, I think I am just not properly understanding your language about the Indian Ocean step changes (and the 7-9 month lag). You still, based on the anomaly maps of this Nino, don't think it will create a step change like '87 and 98, correct?

The 3.4 levels certainly seem unlikely to hit the high levels of those prior years, as you have shown.

Just wanted to clarify. I think you're saying it's still very unlikely, but even if it does happen, it'll be months before we see it.


Carl Wolk said...

"Global SST Anomalies Have Not Responded Yet."

I don't think that's what is going on. It seems that the ocean "over-reacted" (in the historical sense) to the ENSO levels of the past few months. Now, ENSO levels are increasing, and the ocean is returning to ENSO-consistent levels. Global SST is being influenced by ENSO, but its effects have been hidden by other oceanic variation.

Bob Tisdale said...

John: You asked, "You still, based on the anomaly maps of this Nino, don't think it will create a step change like '87 and 98, correct?"

Actually, I do believe it will create a step change in the East Indian and West Pacific Ocean data. We're just not going to see evidence of it for a couple of years.

Bob Tisdale said...

Carl Wolk: Good to hear from you. Been a while.

In some respects I agree with you. The early timing of the El Nino Modoki portion of this event has skewed things. But this El Nino has turned more traditional and still has a way to go. We'll just have to watch and see.

Anonymous said...

A few questions:

1)So it seems to you that this El Niño will be a Big One , that is, will not dissipate anytime soon (as in 1992 or 2002)or stabilize as in 1986-1987-1988?

2) At NINO3.4= +1,7ºC are we already into "strong El Niño" territory?
I thought that for call it "strong" an El Niño must superate NINO3.4=+2ºC and then persist at least a few months above that treshold.

3)I am not sure, but an El Niño Modoki is not something alike a traditional El Niño but with cold waters in front of South America coast and warm water just in the Central Pacific?
I see still a lot of cold water in front of Peruvian coast(that is, my coast, 2km away from my home in Lima, Peru).
Why you say that this Niño beginned as a Modoki one and now it is transforming into a traditional one?
This tranformation means that warm waters will hit my (Peruvian)coast in the next weeks?

John said...

Hi Bob -

Do you now expect this Nino to develop into a major traditional Nino like '87 and '98? None of the models seem to entertain that in their forecasts, not that they are anywhere near infallable.

Just curious why the new train of thought (in November the "ifs" seemed to point to a moderate Nino, if I recall your post correctly).

Bob Tisdale said...

Anonymous: You wrote, “So it seems to you that this El Niño will be a Big One , that is, will not dissipate anytime soon (as in 1992 or 2002)or stabilize as in 1986-1987-1988?”

It already is a big one, but I do not know when it will peak. Based on the subsurface temperatures there is still more of the El Nino.

You wrote, “At NINO3.4= +1,7ºC are we already into 'strong El Niño' territory? I thought that for call it 'strong' an El Niño must superate NINO3.4=+2ºC and then persist at least a few months above that treshold.”

Refer to page 9 of the following report from NOAA:

They list:
Weak El Nino – ONI values +0.5 deg C to +0.9 deg C.
Moderate El Nino – ONI values +1.0 deg C to +1.4 deg C.
Strong El Nino – ONI values +1.5 deg C or more

And I did qualify what I wrote. I did not write that it was officially a strong El Nino. I wrote the SST anomalies were in the territory or range of a strong El Nino.

You asked a number of questions about El Nino Modoki. I was wrong. Refer to the following graph. The El Nino Modoki Index is still very positive. My error for not checking the data. Sorry.

Bob Tisdale said...

John: You asked, "Do you now expect this Nino to develop into a major traditional Nino like '87 and '98?"

I do not expect it to be in the range of the 1997/98 El Nino. A month or so ago I concluded this post...
...with the following:

So if these comparisons of subsurface anomalies can be used as a predictor of the peak SST anomalies, the current El Nino would peak somewhere between the 1991/92 El Nino and the 1972/73 El Nino. Will it? Dunno. I don’t make predictions. The current El Nino may have some surprises in store.

The November 2009 SST anomalies are about 0.25 deg C short the peak of the 1991/92 El Nino.

Memo to self: Do not ever again imply a prediction.

Richard Steckis said...

You have to remember that Australia is also affected by the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) which is part of the reason that we can have warming in both El Nino and La Nina yeara. South-Eastern Australia is affected by both ENSO and IOD.

Anonymous said...

The PDF you quote says:
"ONI is defined as Oceanic Nino Index, a 3 month running meaning of Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies in the Nino 3.4 region in the tropical equatorial Pacific."

The key sentence is:"a 3 month running meaning"

That is, those SST must last at least another 6-7 weeks this high or over to be called a Big One.

By the way, there is still that patch of cool water in front of my coast(remember, Peru). That is Antarctic water carried there by the Trade Winds.(see the "map room" of NOAA: winds and sea level pressure)

Yes, those Trade Winds caused by the South Pacific Anticyclone. That Anticyclone is trying,as was all the year,to stop the El Niño warm waters.

We will see if this cool current (the Humbolt or Peruvian Current) and the winds that originate it will dissipate the El Niño or, to the contrary, the El Niño waters will bring the cold water back to the Antarctic Ocean as in 1982-1983.

Who will win?
We must stay tuned.

Bob Tisdale said...

Anonymous 2:08PM: From your perspective in Peru, do you feel the early start to the El Nino impacted it in any way?

Anonymous said...

In 28 July 1997 (the day of Peruvian Independence, 28 July 1821when Don Jose de San Martin proclaimed our independence from Spain) I and my family went to the beach.July-August is the deepest part of winter. But that year it was almost like summer.

6 months later, torrential rains devastated the whole Peruvian Coast:
1) the cities of the North (Tumbes, Chiclayo, Trujillo) were destroyed (usual in Big Niños)
2) in Lima a mudflow come close to the Palace of Government in the center of Lima(so the Center of our Capital was nearly destroyed, the mudflow missed it by less than a kilometer)
3) in Ica, 150 km south of Lima mudflow obliterated the city(instead this flooding in SOUTH Peru ... was unprecedented)

Well, that was the Super El Niño of 1997-1998.

2002-2003 El Niño: nobody in Peru noticed it.
2006-2007 El Niño: idem, nobody felt it.
We, Peruvians, named this phenomenon: the North Peruvians called it "El Niño" in honour of the Holy Child of Christmas, as it usually peaks in December.

So we know El Niños.
-Peasants hate it as it destroy the crops by either flooding(in the Pacific Coast) or drought(in the East Andes and the Amazon Basin).
-Citizens instead enjoy the unusual tropical weather, feel like Colombians or Caribbeans...until their homes are under a mudflow.
But we notice only the Big Ones, ...well that was before PCs + Lap Tops and the NOAA SST anomaly maps were avaivable.
2009: we noticed a relatively mild winter in June-July(but that can be misleading as last two years were La Niñas).

Then in August-September we had cool weather, and everyone said to me: Where is your El Niño?

October-November: I see the last Kelvin Wave in the NOAA website, and I thought: is this El Niño finally emerging?

Now in December: heat has arrived. But this might be seasonal summer heat, as our waters are still anomausly cold.

My question to myself is:
will this last Kelvin Wave finally eliminate that cool waters in front of our coast that have persisted since early 2007?

ADDENDUM: while some suffer heavily from flooding in El Niños, the cold spells of La Niñas are also deadly, as it cause outbreaks of (seasonal)Influenza-Pneumonia, that is the killer Nº1 in my country
(so forget cancer and TBC, Influenza + some Pneumcoccus and Staphilococcus Aureus is the top killer in Peru Health Statistics, and that is just seasonal flu, so a Panemic strain...).

So I hope this El Niño persist until May-June-July, giving time to vaccine 30 million Peruvians against Pandemic A/H1N1. 1º wave this year was a low-to-moderate one, but the 2º wave (with mutant, more deadly and oseltamivir-resistant A/H1N1 Virus)will be devastating withouth the vaccines.

I hope El Niño give us some more time to prevent a nightmare next year.

Anonymous said...

Maybe a good impact:

a mild winter...
... so a mild flu season...
...so no medical disaster this year from A/H1N1(as in Mexico and Argentina)


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