Where’s The Heat?

Sea Suface Temperature Anomaly 29 Mar 2011

Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly 29 Mar 2011

As I look at that chart, there’s not a lot of ‘excess heat’ showing. There is about the same area of +1.5 green as there is -1.5 blue. There are a couple of very small barely yellow hot spots, but also some very cold magenta fringing around the continents where it looks to me like a cold rain is washing into the sea.

Here’s a mid March 2005 from the archives at unisys.com:

SST Temp anomaly from mid March 2005

SST Temp anomaly from mid March 2005

Looks like less blue to me. We’ve been cooling off for at least 6 years.

So, pretty simple: We’re supposed to be into this whole “Global Warming” thing by about 100 years now. The whole darned industrial revolution and from the 1970’s to date of exceptional growth and development. Supposedly CO2 is running rampant and cooking the globe with “accumulated heat”. OK, where is it? I don’t see it in the graph.

Looks to me like the “hot ocean” of a few years ago has dumped that excess heat and is well on its way to becoming a cold blue ocean. If anyone knows of some “old charts” for comparison, that would be interesting… The oldest I’ve got is this 16 Oct 2010 graph, but we were already into the cooling process by then. This is from a different month, so less directly comparable:

Sea Surface Temperatures 16 October 2010 from Unysis

Sea Surface Temperatures 16 October 2010 from Unysis

There are some of the old “angry yellow / orange” blobs, and we had that new “way cold” purple dagger into the heart of the Pacific. Looks like it’s spread out and done it’s thing, cooling the oceans globally.

But where has all the yellow gone? Hmmm?

Live version of the same chart for watching it change over time:

Live Sea Suface Temperature Chart

Live Sea Suface Temperature Chart

Original Graph

I did find this video, but it has a slightly differernt “modification history” so isn’t directly comparable. Still, it shows a lot of heat, then it starts to fade… I believe the top chart is sea level height while the bottom chart is temperature anomalies. It runs from 1993 to 2009. It looks to me like we’ve continued to cool from there.

UPDATE: 31 Mar 2011 – Added historical charts from NOAA

With a h/t to “Anything is possible” in https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/wheres-the-heat/#comment-15550

a NOAA March 1997 vs NOAA March 2011 graph ( 3/1997 is the oldest March I could find):

March 1997 Sea Surface Temp Anomaly from NOAA

March 1997 Sea Surface Temp Anomaly from NOAA

That was then. Notice in particular the bright orange “snow”… and for Now (notice that the alignment to continents has shifted…):

Sea Surface Anomalies March 2011 from NOAA

Sea Surface Anomalies March 2011 from NOAA

Now, at least, they are making the snow white… Much colder around Antarctica and the heart of the Pacifc, North to Alaska, and with a warmer “Mid Atlantic” and around Australia. But March 1998 is nice too:

Sea Surface Temp anomaly NOAA March 1998

Sea Surface Temp anomaly NOAA March 1998

So I’m still not seeing all that decade+ of “heat build up” we’re supposed to be having… Clearly something is able to easily just walk right over CO2 and nail it to the snow…

Subscribe to feed

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in AGW and Weather News Events and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Where’s The Heat?

  1. Level_Head says:

    One issue that I need to dig back into again is the ARGO buoys. One indication of cooling was “discredited” a few years ago because the ARGO network of buoys was flawed — but the people operating that network, while aware of the issue, had no actual guidance for anyone using their data. And still didn’t, weeks later.

    Then the XBT bouys were described as wrong — but the implication is that they were overstating sea temps (and their rise) for decades.

    For me, a “dig here” as you put it.

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  2. Baa Humbug says:

    What’s interesting to me is the patch of purple emerging off the coast of Peru (the upwelling zone).
    This is the area from where the current La Nina emerged. (indeed all TRUE La Ninas emerge from there)

    I’d say (with a laymans view) we’ll be back into another La Nina by the middle of the Southern Winter.
    July will tell all.

    Oh, also the Aussie BoM ENSO round up states that the ocean conditions are pointing to a return to neutral conditions by the middle of the year but the atmospheric conditions are still indicating a deep La Nina.
    The trade winds also remain strong. More La Nina for mine.

  3. @E.M.Smith:
    In order to answer that question Where’s The Heat?
    We would have to zoom in several times those maps above, to focus politicians at the UN, in NY, in Washington and in Brussels; though if we have a more sensitive gadget we could find their bosses: There is where the heat is.
    Just ponder about the fantastic “spread”which exists between paying the amazon tribes´”Apus” (chiefs) US$ 3 per hectare/annum -actual price offered by the peruvian Environmental Ministry- (which, allegedly “captures” 5,500 mt of CO2) and forcefully selling it to “first world polluters” at US$137,500.-

  4. RuhRoh says:

    Tisdale has some nice gif movies of Ocean Heat Content over decades;

    He moved over to wordpress 2 days ago.



  5. @Baa Humbug: What’s interesting to me is the patch of purple emerging off the coast of Peru (the upwelling zone).
    You are absolutely right: I can feel it right now, at 12°S, 75°W, like a cold breeze coming from the sea shore. It won´t be warmer in the next months as it has just started autumn.
    As the great George Carlin said: “Pack your sh##s folks…WE are leaving..” :-)

  6. sacculina says:

    Question. Why did you select the two dates: March 2005 and March 2011, and how do you know if they are representative of a trend?

  7. E.M.Smith says:


    I don’t know they are representative of a trend. I suspect that they are. I’d love to have a “movie” of the last 100 years, or at least a computed trend line with error bands, but I’ve not found one yet (perhaps others will…)

    I selected March 2011 as it is “now”. Then went looking for “old”. Slim pickings is what I found. So expanded the search.

    I went rooting around in the archives section of Unisys and found “an old chart from the same month”. The end of the month chart from that year was blank, so I took the middle of the month. Semi-random “pick what matches parameters from what you’ve got available”. The “pickings” were a bit slim, though. That’s why I went on to find that video clip that shows the big warm spike that has now clearly left.

    In short, I’m asking a question: “If we’re getting so hot, where has all the heat gone?” as it clearly isn’t here now. I’m not answering that question as I don’t know (though I suspect it convected up to the IR dumping mesosphere then the convection fluid fell as all our rain and snow this year). I’m also pointing out that in a ‘warming world’ things ought to be, well, warming: and they are not.


    Great, I’ll take a look.


    We keep seeing the same move again and again. When things show warming, they are believed, when things show cooling, suddenly “errors” are found… (Modulo that odd bit about the buoys maybe reporting high… then we hear nothing for months …)

    Yeah, looks like folks trying to fit things to their preconceived notions of reality. And in the process sort “error band” into “Confirmation of Global Warming” vs “discard”… So we are very precisely, and horridly inaccurately, tracking the errors of our systems…

    @Baa Humbug:

    I’m pretty sure what we’re seeing is the result of changes around the south pole finally hitting the Pacific.



    It’s all about the “spin” down south. More winds and currents, then: at Drakes Passage, more cold water gets peeled off deep and run up the South American coast where it runs out into the heart of the Pacific and starts the cooling cycle globally.

    Folks forget that the bulk of the ocean is just above freezing


    The surface temperatures of the oceans range from 40°Celsius or so in shallow tropical lagoons to -1.9°C, the typical freezing point for sea water, in polar regions. Most of the water in the deeper layers is very cold. On the whole, any warm water in the open ocean is restricted to a shallow, near-surface band. No matter how warm the surface layers are, between 300 and 1,000m beneath the surface the temperature falls to about 5°C and then continues to fall slowly with increasing depth. As a result, even beneath the hottest tropical regions the water at a depth of 2,000-3,000m almost never rises above 4°C

    So all we have to do is “slop the bowl a little” and presto, loads of 4-5 C water ready to dampen that surface warmth.

    As a consequence, IMHO, most of what is measured when looking at sea surface temperatures will be a proxy for general levels of deep water circulation and overturning currents. Not net heat gain / loss.

    But that’s just a ‘working thesis’ and needs some way to show it. You would need 3D imaging of temperature and mass flow in the ocean to do it right…


    So you are saying that “To find the heat, follow the money”? Sounds reasonable to me, I’ve heard of “hot money” before ;-)

  8. TGSG says:

    wutw coincidently has a chart of 9-2001 up on the front page now.

  9. E.M.Smith says:


    Oooohh! Nice and rosy yellow golden red warm! ;-)


  10. Anything is possible says:

    This takes you back to July 1996 :


    Hope it helps.

  11. R. de Haan says:


    Oooohh! Nice and rosy yellow golden red warm! ;-)


    So much for the warm water bottle effect.

  12. R. de Haan says:

    What’s striking of course is the lack of warm waters in the SH after the past summer.

    @Adolfo Giurfa As for the El Ninjo prediction Joseph D’Aleo had a piece last week at his new Bell Weather blog that the La Ninja would go neutral during the summer but would return which is inline with your prediction.

    In the mean time:
    Snow Cover Continues Above Normal in Hemisphere Supporting Spring and Early Summer Cold

    As for the purple area’s in the Baltic/Finnish Gulf:

  13. Keith Hill says:

    Some interesting old charts from NASA before and after getting the James Hansen treatment to cool the 1930’s and make the last decade the “hottest ever”.


    Slightly O/T but well worth viewing. Check Jo Nova’s site for the presentation by Dr.Vincent Courtillot to a Climate Conference in Berlin, December 2010.


  14. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:


    Interesting this really low flying satellite caught a cold last year lol

  15. AZ Red says:

    For a possible answer to your thought “Clearly something is able to easily just walk right over CO2 and nail it to the snow”


  16. E.M.Smith says:

    @Keith Hill:

    Ah, nice to see folks “mining” Hansen’s old pitches to show how he’s recast his spells over time…

    The particular article at joannova is this one:


    (Over time the top link will not go to that story as new ones are added…)

    @Scarlet Pumpernickel:

    So we have a satellite at constant altitude. The atmosphere gets “squashed down” due to lower UV levels (thus putting the thing in less dense air, so more IR can leave more effectively and colder air due to lower UV heating at that) and the poor dear catches a cold!

    Gee, wonder if something like that can be having an impact on the whole planet….

    The sun “fluffs up” the insulation during high activity phases and we warm… When it lets the atmospheric insulation “pack down” we get colder…

    Works for me ;-)

  17. Ian W says:

    The Unisys archive here http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/ seems to have all the years back to 1999. The only problem is that their ordering is a little strange with 1999 coming later than 2011 in the archive and anomalies being listed in the same archive again with 1999 later than 2011.

Comments are closed.