Ocean Cooling Resumes

May Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are now available, and we can see ocean cooling resuming after a short pause from the downward trajectory during the previous 12 months.

HadSST is generally regarded as the best of the global SST data sets, and so the temperature story here comes from that source, the latest version being HadSST3.

The chart below shows the last two years of SST monthly anomalies as reported in HadSST3 including May 2017.

 

After an upward bump in April 2017 due to the Tropics and NH, the May SSTs show the average declining slightly.  Note the Tropics recorded a rise, but not enough to offset declines in both hemispheres and globally.  SH is now two months into a cooling phase. The present readings compare closely with April 2015, but currently with no indication of an El Nino event any time soon.

Note that higher temps in 2015 and 2016 were first of all due to a sharp rise in Tropical SST, beginning in March 2015, peaking in January 2016, and steadily declining back to its beginning level. Secondly, the Northern Hemisphere added two bumps on the shoulders of Tropical warming, with peaks in August of each year. Also, note that the global release of heat was not dramatic, due to the Southern Hemisphere offsetting the Northern one.

Satellite measures of the air over the oceans give a slightly different result.  The graph below provides UAH vs.6 TLT (lower troposphere temps) over the oceans confirming the general impression from SSTs.

In contrast with SST measurements, air temps in the TLT over the oceans upticked in May with all areas participating in the rise of almost 0.2C.  In the satellite dataset, it is quite noticeable that land air temps rose quite strongly and may have caused air temps in the May TLT over oceans to show higher anomalies than the SSTs.

We have seen lots of claims about the temperature records for 2016 and 2015 proving dangerous man made warming.  At least one senator stated that in a confirmation hearing.  Yet HadSST3 data for the last two years show how obvious is the ocean’s governing of global average temperatures.

USS Pearl Harbor deploys Global Drifter Buoys in Pacific Ocean

The best context for understanding these two years comes from the world’s sea surface temperatures (SST), for several reasons:

  • The ocean covers 71% of the globe and drives average temperatures;
  • SSTs have a constant water content, (unlike air temperatures), so give a better reading of heat content variations;
  • A major El Nino was the dominant climate feature these years.

Solar energy accumulates massively in the ocean and is variably released during circulation events.

 

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12 comments

  1. Hifast · June 13

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

    Like

  2. angech · June 15

    Do the buoys default hot or cold when thrown overboard like that? Instruments must be pretty robust which must reduce sensitivity.

    Like

  3. TinyCO2 · June 15

    I find it interesting that the cooling is from the poles, the place where CO2 is supposed to have most effect. I’ve been watching the pages at noaa for some time. You’d almost think that the warming was from sunlight, not CO2.

    http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/ocean/sst/anomaly/index.html

    Like

    • Ron Clutz · June 15

      Tiny, maybe the CO2 is working to cool the planet. Nah, H2O does the heavy lifting.

      Like

      • flow in · June 20

        yes, CO2 is working to cool the planet. The math on the asymmetry of CO2’s IR/kinetic coupling is flawed, using shock excitation relaxation times (~10 microseconds) instead of the relaxation time from just above equilibrium (~picoseconds) to calculate a bias towards kinetic transfer. In a diurnal system, increased CO2 increases net cooling.

        Like

      • Ron Clutz · June 20

        Interesting comment flow in. Can you point me to some papers I can read on this?

        Like

  4. Caleb · June 20

    My guess is that the “Quiet Sun” is starting to show its effect. I also guess is that the cooling effect was not immediate, as less energy from the sun might have slowed the east to west winds at the equator. This in turn would reduce the cold upwelling along equatorial west coasts, resulting in milder SST. In other words, though it may seem counter intuitive, less energy would temporarily result in milder temperatures. However the milder temperatures are indicative of the seas giving up heat due to a “Quiet Sun”, rather than sucking up heat due to a “Noisy Sun”.

    The effect of weaker east to west winds would be a stronger than expected El Nino, which we saw in 2015, and a weaker than expected La Nina, which we just saw. Despite these fluctuations the general trend is that the seas are losing the stored heat. Or that is my guess.

    Like

  5. Caleb · June 20

    Reblogged this on Sunrise's Swansong and commented:
    Another valuable shared-observation from Ron Clutz. At his site I commented:

    My guess is that the “Quiet Sun” is starting to show its effect. I also guess that the cooling effect was not immediate, as less energy from the sun might have slowed the east to west winds at the equator. This in turn would reduce the cold upwelling along equatorial west coasts, resulting in milder SST. In other words, though it may seem counter intuitive, less energy would temporarily result in milder temperatures. However the milder temperatures are indicative of the seas giving up heat due to a “Quiet Sun”, rather than sucking up heat due to a “Noisy Sun”.

    The effect of weaker east to west winds would be a stronger than expected El Nino, which we saw in 2015, and a weaker than expected La Nina, which we just saw. Despite these fluctuations the general trend is that the seas are losing the stored heat. Or that is my guess.

    Like

    • Ron Clutz · June 20

      Thanks for commenting Caleb. You point to the complex interaction of processes within the climate system. They do interact, and unfortunately for our understanding, the effects are lagged on time scales from weeks to centuries. No wonder alarmists just set aside internal climate change and simply assume it is all forced from outside, and our fault to boot.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ron Clutz · June 20

      The logic of reducing climate complexity down to alarmist simplicity is described in a recent post:

      https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/climate-reductionism/

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: L'Oceano si scalda o si raffredda? Alcuni confronti. : Attività Solare ( Solar Activity )

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