Water World

Readers may be aware of the “Cold Blob” which is moving across the northern Pacific Ocean.  In this post I shall show sea surface temperature anomalies, and currents, in all of the world’s oceans, as shown by nullschool.

This is the colour scale for all figures, from -6C to +6C.  Zero anomaly is black.


The Arctic Ocean


The Southern Ocean


Note the large area of sea ice around Antarctica (black) surrounded by a ring of below average SSTs, with another ring of swirling eddies of warmer SSTs.  Note also the cold blob just below south-western Australia which is working its way east.

The Atlantic Ocean


The North Atlantic is predominantly unusually warm- especially the Gulf Stream.  However the South Atlantic is largely covered by a very large pool of cold water.

The Indian Ocean


The Indian Ocean Dipole between the west and the east is plain to see.  Note the colder than normal SSTs near south-western Australia which have led to some unusually cold land temperatures this winter and spring.

The Pacific Ocean


The El Nino has ended and La Nina appears to be building as the surge of cold water moves west along the Equator.  Note the cold blobs in the North Pacific, and less well defined in the South Pacific.  Note also the high SSTs near South America and around the International Date Line at 30 degrees North.

Note there are large areas of above and below normal SSTs in all ocean basins except the Arctic, where sea ice cover tends to hide water temperature below.  The Arctic ocean atmospheric temperature anomalies have recently shot up to record highs.

I now turn to the seas close to Australia.


Waters around the northern, north-western, and eastern coasts of Australia are generally 1.0 to 1.8C above normal.  This includes the area of the Great Barrier Reef.  The East Australian Current runs down the east coast and can be seen as a warm tongue spilling into the Tasman Sea.  (This is what led to the ABC’s reports about high temperatures in the Tasman Sea.)  But the Tasman Sea has several eddies of cold and warm water.  Note also the cold area to the south of Western Australia, and the cool area just to the east of Tasmania.

Warm waters around northern Australia are likely to generate extra rainfall and probably cyclones, and a strong gradient between north and south will likely lead to strong weather changes and storms.

Conclusion:  Once again, the difference between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres shows itself in sea temperatures.  Apart from the cold blob in the northern Pacific, Northern Hemisphere oceans are predominantly warmer than usual, while those of the Southern Hemisphere have large regions of both warmer and cooler water.  There is a very large cold blob in the South Atlantic, and another surrounding Antarctica.  Ocean currents constantly move thermal energy around, releasing it by radiation and evaporation mainly, and governing land temperatures hundreds of kilometres away.

The next six months should be interesting.


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11 Responses to “Water World”

  1. blackduck19 Says:

    Fabulous graphics Ken. Good luck to the next group of researchers/explorers who endeavour to make it to Antarctica even in summer. Little has been heard from the last mob that required icebreaker services.

  2. Robin Says:

    I really like this presentation and graphics, Ken. Will study it further later today.

  3. ngard2016 Says:

    The Calvo et al SST study off South OZ seems to show a strong link to Antarctic and SH paleo records. Also it is similar to OZ mainland studies and NZ as well. There is no sign of the rapid Younger Dryas cooling as can be observed in the NH and in the Cariaco basin off NE Venezuela. The Greenland warming out of the YD was extreme and temps increased by 10 c in about 10 years. See NOAA YD.

    Note also that there has been a progressive drop in SST over southern OZ in the last 6,500 years.

    Here is the link to the Calvo study and the abstract. http://people.rses.anu.edu.au/dedeckker_p/pubs/12.pdf

    Comparison of ice cores from Greenland and
    Antarctica shows an asynchronous two-step warming at
    these high latitudes during the Last Termination. However,
    the question whether this asynchrony extends to lower
    latitudes is unclear mainly due to the scarcity of
    paleorecords from the Southern Hemisphere. New data
    from a marine core collected off South Australia (36S)
    allows a detailed reconstruction of sea-surface temperatures
    over the Last Termination. This confirms the existence of an
    Antarctic-type deglacial pattern and shows no indication of
    cooling associated with the Northern Hemisphere YD event.
    The SST record also provides a new comparison with the
    more extensive paleoclimatic data available from continental
    Australia. This shows a strong climatic link between onshore
    and offshore records for Australia and to Southern
    Hemisphere paleorecords. We also show a progressive SST
    drop over the last 6.5 kyr not seen before for the
    Australian region. Citation: Calvo, E., C. Pelejero, P. De
    Deckker, and G. A. Logan (2007), Antarctic deglacial pattern in a
    30 kyr record of sea surface temperature offshore South Australia,
    Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L13707, doi:10.1029/2007GL029937.

  4. ngard2016 Says:

    Here’s the NOAA Younger Dryas link. Interesting graph showing Greenland, Cariaco basin and Antarctica differences.


  5. ngard2016 Says:

    Ken, below the Pause update you had this to say about increased snowfall in response to my inquiry about recent temp drop on land. This story below your comment about increased snowfall over one part of Greenland is very interesting.

    kenskingdom Says:
    November 15, 2016 at 11:57 am | Reply

    Coming off the El Nino, land areas are cooling much faster than oceans, which in UAH are at record high levels still. Globally, land area monthly figure is down to “pause” level, but North Polar land temp is still high while NP ocean is at record level. Cooling land in high latitudes with warm oceans should lead to increased snowfall. I have a post coming up re ocean SST.

    I know you’re a busy bloke, but you may have missed the story of Glacier Girl, recovered from Greenland after 50 years under 268 ft( 82 metres) of ice. Here is Don Aitkin’s post. Are you aware of this amazing story? And please keep up your good work.


  6. kenskingdom Says:

    Thanks, yes I saw that story from a few years ago now, but had forgotten!

  7. ngard2016 Says:

    David Rose in the Mail On Sunday is also stirring the pot about whether there was a pause in warming from 1998 to 2014. I thought that the IPCC AR 5 report had already conceded that the pause was real, but apparently Gavin Schmidt thinks they’re wrong?
    Judith Curry and even Mann etc agreed that there was a pause, but Gavin also thinks that the near el nino in 2015 and the very strong 2016 el nino had little impact on temps. Apparently it’s all due to our CAGW that seems to come and go as it pleases. Once again Curry and other reputable scientist disagree, but we now know there has been a big fall in SAT temp data over land areas of the planet and we’ll just have to wait to see whether oceans temps will follow the same trend.
    Of course if we’d just had a very strong la nina and temps had dropped even further since 2014 we’d all be talking about a more solid confirmation and extension of the pause. Natural ENSO variability tests all of us but ya gotta laugh.


  8. MikeR Says:

    Yes ngard2016, you are right, you gotta laugh.

    The data shown in the daily Mail article by David Rose appears to show a more than 1 degree drop in satellite temperatures from February until October. It appears to be for the UAH land temperature data for the Northern Hemisphere only (not global). This region corresponds to 20% of the surface area of the earth.

    The other 80% is not mentioned. Needless to say none of the other data sets for UAH (or any of the surface based measurements show) as large a drop from February.

    It just shows why you should never rely upon the tabloid press as your source for scientific content. I am sure the UK Daily Mail can be relied upon, like most of the other UK tabloid press, for salacious material and the activities of celebrities. In particular I refer to the ‘DON’T MISS’ material at the right of the relevant article ( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3974846/Stunning-new-data-indicates-El-Nino-drove-record-highs-global-temperatures-suggesting-rise-not-man-emissions.html) .

    It will also be interesting to see the upcoming November UAH data as it appears that November is currently running significantly warmer than October (see https://ghrc.nsstc.nasa.gov/amsutemps/amsutemps.pl?r=003 ).

  9. ngard2016 Says:

    MikeR here is Werner Brozek’s latest update on Nov 18th. And here is his quote about UAH and RSS length of time of no stat sig warming. He uses Nick Stoke’s data referring to length of no stat sig warming.

    “On several different data sets, there has been no statistically significant warming for between 0 and 23 years according to Nick’s criteria. Cl stands for the confidence limits at the 95% level.

    The details for several sets are below.

    For UAH6.0: Since October 1993: Cl from -0.029 to 1.792
    This is 23 years and 1 month.
    For RSS: Since July 1994: Cl from -0.011 to 1.784 This is 22 years and 4 months.
    For Hadcrut4.4: The warming is statistically significant for all periods above three years.
    For Hadsst3: Since February 1997: Cl from -0.029 to 2.124 This is 19 years and 8 months.”

    Here is the Brozek link.


    Don’t forget that Ken could still find a pause in warming at his July update 2016. This is using UAH V6 and during the strongest el nino since 1997/1998.

  10. MikeR Says:

    Yes, Ngard2016 I agree with Werner Brozek that there has definitely been no statistically significant warming since October 1993 for the UAH data.

    However, and this is a big however, using the same criteria you can say that there has definitely not been a statistically significant pause in any period since the start of the UAH satellite record. The point is that for the satellite data ,for periods short than 23 years, it is impossible to state with statistical certainty whether there has been a pause or an increase in temperatures .

    However you can say with statistical confidence that there has been a warming trend ,up till the present, from any data prior to 1993. In particular the trend with the most significance is the longest i.e. From Dec 1978 until the present , the trend is 0.123 degrees/decade with an upper limit of 0.165 degrees per decade and a lower limit of 0.081 degrees per decade. The shortest period with statistical significance (from September 1993 until the present) shows a trend of 0.091 degrees per decade with an upper limit of 0.18 degrees per decade and a lower limit of 0.002 degrees per decade.

    The above values for the trends and the data that Werner used can be found at https://moyhu.blogspot.com.au/p/temperature-trend-viewer.html .

    Finally I am not sure why Werner did not point out the obvious lack of statistical significance for any pauses. Either he does not understand the basics or he might have been deliberately misleading. Ngard2016, do you have another alternative explanation?

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