Unusual Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly

Something different is happening in the oceans of the Northern Hemisphere.  The La Nina that is active seems fairly normal, but what is happening around the entire NH is rather odd.  Here is the current SST for the world’s oceans.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

Sea Surface Anomaly: December 30, 2010

What is unusual is the cooler than average water developing in the Atlantic ocean up towards Scandinavia.  In other La Nina years that has not happened.  For instance the following two pictures show the same date in 2007 and 1998.  Both were periods were La Nina.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

La Nina at the end of 2007

The Inconvenient Skeptic

La Nina at the end of 1998

It is early to speculate, but it is possible that the oceans are changing oscillation states.  This is not an ocean pattern that has developed in the recent past.  That is a strong indication that the unusual winter will persist and that additional unusual weather may develop.

The scientific understanding of the ocean oscillations is limited, but this could be a very interesting shift.  One that appears to be causing drastically cooler temperatures.  This shows up in the latest channel 4 data from the AMSU near surface temperature.  The rate and size of the temperature drop for this channel is unprecedented.  The next few months will be very interesting.  They could also be very cold.  December will have a positive global anomaly, but it is likely that January and February will not.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

2009 and 2010 Channel 4 AMSU temperature. Orange - 2010, Blue - 2009.

Posted in Anomaly and Climate by inconvenientskeptic on December 30th, 2010 at 6:40 pm.


This post has 8 comments

  1. Malaga View Dec 31st 2010

    Why the Globe Will (Is) Cool(ing), or Will Appear To

  2. inconvenientskeptic Jan 1st 2011

    I won’t make any predictions yet, but it is interesting that the Atlantic is showing a shift in the temperature anomaly that is different and does show a possible change in the anomaly behavior.

    This next year will be interesting.

  3. The NH oceans have taken a turn in the last week, of particular interest is the cooling of the Gulf Stream that should provide extra cooling to the UK and Europe. Also a big turn around in the waters around Japan.

    The Australian BOM is suggesting we should see a gradual weakening of the La Nina from here, I am not so sure.

    The solar position is still weak with December showing another decline in solar activity. My forecast is for a grand minimum of 2 cycles that should produce LIA conditions for the next 20-30 years.


  4. inconvenientskeptic Jan 2nd 2011


    There is also the decreasing NH summer insolation to content with. The changing obliquity should result in slightly warmer winters and cooler summers over the next several thousand years.

    I am still stunned that so many people believe that the amount of energy the atmosphere absorbs from the surface can be so impacted by CO2.

    It is possible that the next 100 years don’t cool too dramatically, but 200-300 years from now will be much colder.

  5. Maybe the slow shift of the still positive NAO index,towards the negative side in in the near future is part of the reason why we see the new changes there?

  6. inconvenientskeptic Jan 3rd 2011

    The NAO might be shifting. It is still too early to tell. The instability in the SST now is a good indicator that some change is in progress to cooler temps.

  7. John,

    Interesting comparison of past La Ninas to our current one. I will be keeping up with your observations.

    I am old enough to remember the climate in the 1960s and 1970s – I was in Germany and Southern California. Europe had some very cold winters back then and I remember Southern California as being very wet with floods and landslides.

    Now it may be likely that we are headed back to a cold phase. I am on the edge of my chair.

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