I’ve moved to WordPress: http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/

Monday, April 26, 2010

VERY PRELIMINARY April 2010 SST Anomaly Update

I’ve moved to WordPress.  This post can now be found at VERY PRELIMINARY April 2010 SST Anomaly Update
The April 2010 SST data through the NOAA NOMADS website won’t be official until Monday April 10th. Refer to the schedule on the NOAA Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface Temperature Analysis Frequently Asked Questions webpage. However, the following are the preliminary Global and NINO3.4 SST anomalies for April 2010 presented by the NOMADS website today, Monday, April 26, 2010. I’ve also included the weekly data through April 21, 2010, but I’ve shortened the span of the weekly data, starting it in January 2004, so that the wiggles are visible.

Based on the preliminary data, monthly NINO3.4 SST anomalies are continuing to drop, and the drop accelerated after the slowdown last month. They’ve dropped ~0.41 deg C over the past month.
Monthly NINO3.4 SST Anomalies

Monthly Global SST anomalies, according to the preliminary data, increased 0.034 deg C since March.
Monthly Global SST Anomalies

The weekly NINO3.4 SST anomaly data, with the most recent value centered on April 21, 2010, shows a continued decline.
Weekly NINO3.4 SST Anomalies

Weekly Global SST Anomalies are still elevated and have not yet begun their lagged drop in response to the decline in NINO3.4 SST anomalies.
Weekly Global SST Anomalies

SST anomaly data is available through the NOAA NOMADS website:


John said...

Hi Bob -

2 quick questions.

1. Based on the recent timing, should the OHC data be updated for 1Q10 shortly? I'm curious to see if the Nino will have lead to a drop.

2. I'm sure you have seen the recent posts on various blogs about the "Missing Energy." Do you have any comments? [That's a bit broad, but I'm curious.]


John said...

Sorry Bob, another question. I'm awful at getting them all down at once.

Do you think once this Nino fades we will return to oscillating around the .2c anomaly mark, globally?

I'm just curious how much of the current .34 global anomaly you think is being driven by this Nino.

Bob Tisdale said...

John: I was hoping the NODC OHC data would be updated this month, but I haven't seen any signs of it.

Regarding the "missing heat", I believe the attribution for the warming to anthropogenic sources is incorrect. I'm toying with a post on this.

And nope. I don't think we will return to oscillating around the .2c anomaly mark, globally, once the El Nino faades. The vast majority of the recent rise should be attributable to the El Nino, but as we have seen, the global response to La Nina events is not the same as it is for El Nino events.

John said...

So if the pattern holds (assuming that this is a significant El Nino), we should expect a dip down from a La Nina and then a return to a new, slightly elevated high (say a norm of around .25 instead of .20, to create random numbers)?

Does the fact that this was a Modoki Nino influence your belief that this will be a significant Nino that results in a step change?


Bob Tisdale said...

John: The recent drop in North Atlantic SST anomalies concerns me more, if it was providing feedback that was helping the upward steps. In other words, if the East Indian and West Pacific make an upward step, but the North Atlantic continues its decline, they would wash and there wouldn't be a visible upward step in the record.

John said...

Thanks for the thoughts, Bob. I appreciate it.

I think the poleward transportation of heat from this Nino will be interesting to see. Absent it, I wonder if the Artic will continue its ice recovery in coming years.

I'm also struggling with this "missing heat" debate. I'm trying to understand how your theories on ENSO interact with the satellite radiative imbalances that are issue in the Spencer/Trenbeth discussion I've been following.

Thanks, as always.

Anonymous said...


You said:
"(...) I wonder if the Artic will continue its ice recovery in coming years."

Arctic sea ice is NOT recovering.
Check this:

"Arctic Sea Ice Volume Anomaly"

I quote:
"Total Arctic Ice Volume for March 2010 is 20,300 km^3, the lowest over the 1979-2009 period and 38% below the 1979 maximum. September Ice Volume was lowest in 2009 at 5,800 km^3 or 67% below its 1979 maximum"

You were confused by a relative "recovery" in sea ice AREA. But most ice loss was not in area, but in THICKNESS.

Area is highly sensitive to year-to-year wheather patterns. It go up and down every year. 2007 was a record AREA loss year thanks to a very harsh weather pattern. In 2008 and 2009 the weather was more mild, so there wasn't a record low AREA.

But thickness continued to drop, so last year and this winter saw record low VOLUME.

You said "I think the poleward transportation of heat from this Nino will be interesting to see".

I also think so. I am following the arctic sea ice area maps at
"Daily Updated AMSR-E Sea Ice Maps"
(link: http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/amsre.html).

Time will tell if the thinning trend + El Niño heat will result in a new record melt year.

John said...

Anonymous -

Thanks for the information - it's surprising that both sides of AGW focus on area more than volume. I don't think I've ever really heard volume discussed. I appreciate the link.

Are artic sea temperatures the main driver of volume? I would think so, as it's a floating hunk of ice except where it hugs various coastlines. So it seems sea temperature would matter more than air temperature.

Bob, what do you think? Will this ENSO have a poleward heat transfer increase like in 98? Will that contribute to a continuing loss trend in ice volume?

Any thoughts on whether the key factor is the Artic Sea temperature anomaly?

magellan said...

Sea ice extent is only useful when it is in decline. It is meaningless when it is increasing.

When OHC is increasing in the upper 700m, it is the "smoking gun" for AGW. When flat or decreasing, the missing heat is magically found in the next 1300m of ocean depths; the oceans are heating from below. :)

That's how AGW works! Nothing can be falsified. Got it anonymous, thanks.....

Bob Tisdale said...

John: Sorry, but I really don’t pay attention to Arctic sea ice, be it extent, area, or the metric du jour: volume—other than to take a look at the JAXA sea ice extent map from time to time:

Jeff Id has a new post, where someone has linked to the metric du jour and where there are a few replies by those who study sea ice:

However, consider this. Arctic SST data north of the North Atlantic is sparse before the 1960s and it’s worse for the rest of the Arctic:

So if the same ships that are measuring SST are also being used for Sea Ice Extent calculations, there are few to no readings north, northeast, or northwest of the Bering Strait prior to the early 1960s. In fact, for the entire year of 1950, there were only a few SST measurements in the South Bering Sea, nothing north of that.

That’s about the extent of what I can offer to the discussion.

John said...

Thanks Bob.

Would you (or anyone else) mind giving me your thoughts on this idea that's been bouncing in my head?

I've seen Lindzen (and noticed myself) discuss how the summer temperatures in the Artic (80-90N) have remained essentially constant over the time period tracked. [this can be seen at http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php and just clicking around on each year].

The same charts show great variability in the winter temperatures, which Lindzen attributes to changes in weather patterns from heat transports from the south, as in the artic winter there is no solar radiative force.

Is that what would be expected from the poleward transport of heat from the Ninos? Would it primarily impact weather patters in the winter?

Basically, I'm trying to understand the flat summer temperatures - is there any way to reconcile the flat summer temperatures with a CO2-driven warming theory?

I assume that the melt must then be driven by changes below 80N in the summer (from warmer waters transported north, whatever), but why would summer above 80N not be getting warmer as well?

John said...

Hi Bob -

Another, semi-related question.

If Artic SST is a critical component of ice melt, I'm curious how the SST anomalies in the major melt months (say May-July) have varied over the past 30 years.

Eyeballing the latest Artic SST anomaly chart from earlier this month, it seems like there are spikes in most summers as compared to the overall average SST, but how does summer compare to each other?

I don't see how to do this on OIv2. Is there a database where you can compare months over time instead of each month to the overall average?

Bob Tisdale said...

John: You asked, "Is there a database where you can compare months over time instead of each month to the overall average?"

Is your concern that the data is in one column from NOMADS and not in a table?

Have you tried using SST, instead of anomalies, in a tabular form like you'd find at the KNMI Climate Explorer. It provides the data in 12 monthly columns. And you could create anomalies by taking a 30-year period monthly (June, or July, or October, etc,) average and subtracting the SST reading from the average.

Or you could find a EXCEL help pafge through google that explains how to convert the column into a table?

Bob Tisdale said...

John: Here's a problem you'll soon discover with studying SST in the Arctic or Southern Oceans where there's normally ice. During a summer like 2007 when there's excessive ice loss, new areas of open ocean can be exposed. If that area was covered with ice during the base period used for anomalies, how then are they creating SST anomalies? If it's the only month of any year in the dataset with an SST measurement, then it's the "normal" SST for those conditions. But the new data has a high anomaly value attributed to it. How?

It appears the researchers believe that the newly created data has to have an anomaly value befitting an abnormality, when it is the norm for those conditions.

John said...

Thanks for the info - I will try to play around and see if I can put my very rusty excel skills to use.

That's very interesting about the artic SST anomalies. That explains why the summer seem to uniformly have big anomaly spikes.

Trying to reconcile sea ice, SST, heat content, and weather/wind patterns is astoundingly complicated.

Thanks, as always.

Bob Tisdale said...

John: The wiggles in the other satellite based SST dataset, HADISST, aren't as big, if memory serves me well. So it's also a function of how the researchers address the polar climatologies.

Anonymous said...


You said:"Basically, I'm trying to understand the flat summer temperatures - is there any way to reconcile the flat summer temperatures with a CO2-driven warming theory?"

I suggest to you to read the article "The emergence of surface-based Arctic amplification" by M. C. Serreze et al.

Here it is showed that a most warming occur in autumn-winter because of late-summer sea ice melt: in summer the sea absorbs heat as it melts and warms. Then in autumn and winter the sea release the heat absorbed.

As sea ice gets thinner, the sea is less insulated from the atmosphere and the heat flux from sea to air increase.


Tips are now being accepted.

Comment Policy, SST Posts, and Notes

Comments that are political in nature or that have nothing to do with the post will be deleted.
The Smith and Reynolds SST Posts DOES NOT LIST ALL SST POSTS. I stopped using ERSST.v2 data for SST when NOAA deleted it from NOMADS early in 2009.

Please use the search feature in the upper left-hand corner of the page for posts on specific subjects.
NOTE: I’ve discovered that some of the links to older posts provide blank pages. While it’s possible to access that post by scrolling through the history, that’s time consuming. There’s a quick fix for the problem, so if you run into an absent post, please advise me. Thanks.
If you use the graphs, please cite or link to the address of the blog post or this website.