Tremendous Cooling Of Northern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperatures …Sharp Spell Of Global Cooling Ahead?

Over the past months we’ve witnessed a powerful El Niño, a Pacific oceanic phase that brings warm sea surface temperatures along the equatorial Pacific. This El Niño has made 2015 global temperatures among the highest on the satellite record.

But not only has the equatorial surface Pacific been warm, so has a vast part of the northeastern Pacific, as the following chart from April 2015 shows:

Der warme "Blop" im östlichen Nordpazifik (rote Farben) und der eher kühle Nordatlantik (blaeu und grüne Farben im April 2015

Figure 1: Warm sea surface temperature anomaly over the northeastern Pacific along the North American west coast indicated in red, recorded April 2015, along with a small patch of cool North Atlantic sea surface. Source: April 2015 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomaly Update, Hat tip: wobleibtdieerderwaermung

Also the North Atlantic sea surface had been warm, but recently turned cool as the above chart shows.

Disturbing trend

Now, some eight months later, we see a disturbing northern hemisphere oceanic surface trend very much in the works. No, sea surface temperatures have not gotten even warmer – rather quite to the contrary: they’ve gotten tremendously colder.

Hat-tip: wobleibtdieerderwaermung.

Pacific Dec302015

Fig. 2: The latest chart above shows the large reduction of the northeastern Pacific warm blob, and the huge growth in the North Atlantic cold region. Source: cropped from Unisys here.

The above chart shows two major developments: 1) the northeastern Pacific warm blob has shriveled away massively, and 2) the North Atlantic cool spot has exploded in size and is now a vast region of cold sea surface temperatures. The northern hemisphere is de facto getting refrigerated.

La Nina will cool globe further

Not only are northern hemisphere sea surface temperatures falling rapidly, but also the equatorial Pacific is set for a widespread cool-down as the current El Niño begins its decline and heads towards  a La Niña, the cool phase of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Most models now show it will arrive possibly late 2016. This means the globe will very likely soon see three vast and major oceanic regions entering a cool phase all at once. This is setting up to have profound impacts on global temperature over the coming months and two-three years – if not longer.

Meteorologist Joe Bastardi at Weatherbell has pointed out a number of times that the last La Niñas have gotten progressively deeper, and states we should not be surprised if the next one is as deep, or even deeper. Could we be looking at a major northern hemispheric cooling (0.5°C or more) by 2017?

What’s interesting is the large corridor of cool Atlantic sea surface that has since formed southwest of the British islands, west of Spain (Fig. 2). Europeans will recall that the continent’s recent weather was dominated by almost non-stop southwesterly winds over the past 2 months. That period of extremely mild weather Europeans have been experiencing was in fact due to that large, uninterrupted flow of warm, southwesterly air coming off the Atlantic. Had the opposite happened, Europe would have been frozen over, just as was the case in 2010.

What happens to tropical warmth up north?

Today we see a powerful storm centered over Iceland that is pumping up yet more warmth – all the way to the North Pole:

Iceland low 30Dec2015

Fig. 3: Unusual event: warm tropical air getting transported all the way to the North Pole. Source: here.

That sort of tropics-to-pole movement we see above has been going on over the northeast Atlantic for some 2 months -though not that extreme.

Here’s something to think about, and maybe I can get some feedback on this. What happens to all that thermal surface energy that got swept up from the Atlantic tropics and moved to the high latitudes (in the dead of winter)? Would it not all get rapidly radiated out into space at these very high latitudes?

Wouldn’t that pattern accelerate the surface cooling of the oceans at the mid and lower Atlantic latitudes (e.g. see Fig. 2, west of Spain)? Could this now protracted pattern have made the cooling in the Atlantic even more pronounced and explain in part why the North Atlantic has cooled? If so, what impact will a cool Atlantic in combination with a soon to be widespread cool Pacific have on global temperatures over the next couple of years?

Now throw in the soon-coming low solar activity.

If you are into warming, don’t be surprised if you suddenly find things turning very cool, and soon. The next couple of years will be interesting. My hunch is that Joe Bastardi is on the right track. We’ll soon see!

UPDATE: Here’s what NCEP chart shows (hat-tip: Joe Bastardi).



36 responses to “Tremendous Cooling Of Northern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperatures …Sharp Spell Of Global Cooling Ahead?”

  1. Joe Bastardi

    Very tough to comment on this without showing the map, but I just subtracted the 15th from Today and cannot agree with this in the northern hemisphere. Waters have warmed by and large there. However where most of the water is, in the southern Hemisphere they have cooled.

    I will post map in reply on the tweet

    As far as low solar, that argument is weak. Why? If you are going to play the solar game, then what happened to the 200 years of positive SS activity if that is indeed heating the planet. Again if you want to play this game, it would have to be in the oceans.. The weaker SS may encourage more enso events, because if this grand solar theory is correct and its such a huge deal, it would have to weaken the easterlies due to less incoming radiation. So the argument is, is it Trenberths stored heat from co2, or solar peoples stored heat from TWO HUNDRED YEARS OF SS ACTIVITY. My problem is screaming little ice age when at most a response back to the late 70s is all that can be hoped for given the oceans, will be a big egg on the face of many. Moreover, while I believe the sun is a grand conductor in huge time scales, you cant say 3 down cycles does what happened in LIA because there was a 200 yr stretch, then a shorter stretch. So where is the heat from the sunspot cycles if you want to use that. It would have to be in the oceans. Low solar, encourages enso events if you want to play that game. The idea is fundamentally flawed so more ensos, and stored heat from the very sun you want to use to cool things in 30 years but if its that big a deal would help with enso, would argue as a counter to ocean cooling

    Above all, you cant get rid of 200 years in 30 years, IF YOU ACCEPT THE PREMISE THE SUN IS SO IMPORTANT. See reply on tweet for the change in temps since april. AND BY THE WAY part of the reason it cooled was because it was so darn warm. Its when it cools when its not warm, that has greater implications. You cant go from step A to step z Pardon my bias, because I have the cooling forecast out from 2007 by 2030 based mostly on the oceans

    1. Rog Tallbloke

      My own model shows modest cooling out to 2050 of around 0.25C globally.

      This could translate to a bigger drop in the northern hemisphere as the polar see-saw swings the other way, with a cooling Arctic and warming Antarctic.

      The oceans gained net energy from the Sun from 1930-2003 and now they will lose net energy until at least 2100, if our solar model is correct.

      The drop in solar activity from 1870-1910 saw a few big El Ninos. The big ocean battery supplies energy to the atmosphere when the giant solar power unit in the sky isn’t doing so well.

  2. DirkH

    That’s funny. Warmunist media huff and puff about “North Pole being as warm as California” and “50 deg C warmer than normal”.
    DMI has nothing of the kind in their data.

    But, a microscopic weather extreme has never stopped Warmunists from pretending to panic. Ends justify the means after all. Showing the similarity of Warmunism to Leninism again. MORE BLOOD!

  3. sod

    “What happens to tropical warmth up north?”

    If it gets above zero, it starts to melt ice.

    But the final effect is unclear, as massive snowing (happening when warm and wet air cools down) might actually increase snow/ice cover.

    But this storm is special, and it seems to be difficult to find someone, who saw something similar in the past.

    The heat will definitely not “rapidly radiated out into space”. (why would it “radiate” any faster than anywhere else?)

    1. DirkH

      “The heat will definitely not “rapidly radiated out into space”. (why would it “radiate” any faster than anywhere else?)”

      Why the scare quotes around radiate? Have you really NEVER heard the term radiative cooling before? sod, that’s how Earth stays cool. There’s no other sort of cooling going on. Space is a vacuum.

      Also, heat radiates RAPIDLY into space EVERYWHERE above cloud level. The higher the CO2 content of the atmosphere, the faster. It will be way more rapid than say in 1950. Ask any warmunist climate modeler. They know this.

      On a clear and dry night, heat radiates rapidly to space even from the surface. That’s e.g. after those mornings when your car windscreen has ice on it but for instance the side screens not. As the windscreen faces more vertically, radiative exchange is more of a net negative for your windscreen than for the side windows.

      1. DirkH

        I should have added, as you probably never heard of this, that a molecule that absorbs CO2 on a given frequency, also EMITS this frequency; one process is called thermalization, the reverse dethermalization. In the stratosphere, dethermalization is the more likely process. (Due to probability of collisions depending on atmospheric thickness)

        Every warmunist scientist will confirm this.

        CO2 and all other triatomic gas molecules have very broad absorption/emission spectra. That’s why CO2 as well as H2O produce radiative cooling. But, there’s not much free H2O gas molecules, vulgo water vapor in the stratosphere. Here, the abundant CO2 comes to the rescue. And COOLS THE PLANET.

        1. DirkH

          This leads us to the Negative CO2 feedback theory. It states that Earth keeps a relatively moderate climate over eons through a simple process regulated by CO2.
          When Earth is hot – called “Hothouse Earth climate” ; with no ice at the poles – a state that we are currently not in , but Earth was in this state before – the oceans lose a lot of dissolved CO2 to the atmosphere.
          This CO2 rises to the stratosphere and increases the radiative cooling of Earth, over time leading to a Global Cooling, reducing the temperature of the Earth, and over time, of the oceans – which in turn shuts down the release of CO2 from the oceans and instead causes the oceans to become net absorbers of CO2, scrubbing CO2 from the atmosphere.
          Radiative cooling then becomes weaker, while Earth is in an ice age (as we are now, as we have ice at the poles – the ice age has not ended, only the last glaciation has ended. This is frequently misunderstood.).
          As Radiative cooling reduces, the warming half of the cycle begins and everything repeats.
          The typical frequency with which this regulation happens is about once in a millenium, as we see in the repeats of warm times like today, the MWP and the ROman and the Minoan optimum. What else is on the order of a millenium? Well, the DO-Events and the Thermohaline Circulation of course. The Thermohaline Circulation is obviously the major player here, as it moves far more energy than the atmosphere; and its slow overturning of CO2-poor and CO2-rich water drive the hole solution/dissolution process at the ocean surface.

          This is of course all far beyond the capabilities of warmunist climate models.

    2. Ed Caryl

      Why would it radiate faster than anywhere else? Because in December and January the sun doesn’t shine up there. There is no solar heating. All radiation is from the surface to space with no replacement. The heat from the “tropics” is also relative. The air temperature will not rise above freezing, far from it. The temperature at the pole will simply rise from -40°C to -20°C.

      1. sod

        ” The temperature at the pole will simply rise from -40°C to -20°C.”

        No. The temperature rose to about 0°C.

    3. TedM

      Heat would be expected to be more rapidly lost to space through radiation, although not through more rapid radiation. Convection would be more rapid and therefore more of the heat radiated from higher in the troposphere with a greater component being toward space.

    4. Stephen Wilde


      All large Atlantic depressions are capable of pushing warm air into the Arctic Circle via Spitzbergen in just such a way.

      All that has happened is that we now have pretty graphics to display it on big TVs.

      The strongest Atlantic depressions are during colder spells such as the Little Ice Age as 17th century ships logs make entirely clear.

      Just because it is unfamiliar to you does not make it unprecedented or even unusual, silly boy 🙂

      1. sod

        ” as the Little Ice Age as 17th century ships logs make entirely clear.”

        Sure. Why do you not simply link or quote one of those ship logs from the end of december close to the north pole?

        1. David Johnson

          I’m sure you are capable of finding them by yourself as you are very quick to find warmist scare stories

        2. Stephen Wilde
          1. sod

            “Search here:”

            There are exactly ZERO reports from sailing ships near the north pole at december. ZERO.

            But if you have the miracle link, please educate me!

          2. Stephen Wilde


            That is a dishonest comment.

            I told you that :

            “The strongest Atlantic depressions are during colder spells such as the Little Ice Age as 17th century ships logs make entirely clear. ”

            Why would one need a ship at the north pole to support that comment?

            As regards Atlantic depressions causing warm air to circulate into the Arctic Circle we have been able to see that happening ever since it became possible to draw isobars for the relevant areas and we now see it even more clearly with modern sensors and computer graphics.

            Sadly, you have caused me to question your integrity since your intelligence is not in issue.

    5. DirkH

      The heat at the North pole has now rapidly radiated to space, sod.

      See how that works?

      1. sod

        “The heat at the North pole has now rapidly radiated to space, sod.”

        No, it has not. The air has mixed up with colder air. I have seen no evidence of more “radiation to space”.

        1. DirkH

          “No, it has not. The air has mixed up with colder air.”

          What colder air? There was none a few days ago. Mainstream media would have told us. They would have said: The abnormously warm air mass is luckily surrounded by the usual very cold arctic air masses so it will go away as soon as that mixes.

          But they didn’t say that. They said: The North Pole is currently as warm as California.

          And now it isn’t anymore. The only possibility is therefore that energy has been shed to space.

  4. Richard F. Cronin

    Suggest everyone examine the nascent work regarding the GeoReactor and the demonstrated incidence of natural fission reactors, driving every heating / cooling cycles since the earliest Ice Ages, plus the source of the extra CO2 and methane. J. Marvin Herndon, Daniel F. Hollenbach. R.S. de Meijer. Anke Wohler, Kao-Ping Lin, Robert J. Tuttle (“The Fourth Source”). Dr. Padmanabha Rao has detected via spectrographic observations, the classic signature elements of U-235 fission coming from within the sun. Stars are big H-bombs. Supernova are very large A-bombs. Via accretion in the formation of all major planetary and stellar masses, the heaviest elements, the Transuranics settle to the cores and ignite naturally occurring fission reactors, with the attendant production of sustained radioactivity.

  5. R2Dtoo

    Although this is a very interesting event, it probably should be viewed as the opposite of a polar vortex invading lower latitudes. Zonal flow likely will re-establish when this wave closes and the warm air over the poles will dissipate quickly. The huge temperature swing will be short-lived, and lacking solar amplification, will not result in any significant melting. Most of the Arctic is very cold in December, and has been cold recently. How about we just wait and measure whatever effects result. Air masses have been moving around far longer than we have been watching them, and we still have limited knowledge of the jet streams.

  6. A C Osborn

    I am not sure why Joe is so sure that 200 years of slow SI based ocean warming can’t be reversed in 30 years.
    It doesn’t seem to just depend on the TSI how quickly the heat is dissipated but on all the other cyclic climate pnenomena.
    Certainly the current weather systems are dragging the heat from the warm regions down near the equator up north, cooling the oceans as they go and moving some to space and converting some to Snow & Ice.
    Add to that the increased CO2 in the thermosphere causing increased cooling (as shown by NASA Satellite data), changes in UV, changes in Ozone etc.

  7. Curious George

    Warmists are masters in taking a short-term trend, postulating that it would last forever, and predicting a plethora of catastrophes. See The Club of Rome. Let’s not repeat their mistakes. They got rich enough already.

  8. Ron C,

    Consistent with those charts showing the N. Pacific Blob breaking down, Bering Sea has recovered ice ahead of 2014 at this date.

  9. Harry Dale Huffman

    The global temperature is stable — no runaway global warming OR cooling. The definitive evidence (as I have been harping on since November 2010) is my Venus/Earth temperature vs. pressure comparison, in which the Standard Atmosphere model of the Earth’s troposphere is precisely–I repeat, precisely–confirmed against the temperature vs. pressure profile of Venus, when only Venus’s lesser distance from the Sun is taken into account. Not only does that Venus/Earth analysis prove there is no global-warming CO2 greenhouse effect (since Venus’s atmosphere has over 2400 times the concentration of CO2 as Earth’s does, with no effect upon the temperatures), it shows that the century-old Standard Atmosphere, developed by measurements throughout the atmosphere over many years, precisely agrees with the Venus atmospheric profile on ONE DAY, October 5, 1991. THINK about that, people: The mean surface temperature in the Standard Atmosphere, 288K, has been unchanged in that model for a century, and yet it precisely agrees with the measured temperature in the Venus atmosphere at the same pressure, on that one day in 1991 (after most of the supposed “unprecedented global warming” is claimed to have occurred on Earth). The surface temperature in the Standard Atmosphere–288K, for a century or more–is greater now than the supposed global mean surface temperature today, despite all of that supposed recent global warming. This is the pitiful truth, behind all of the “authoritative”, condescending “expert” opinions that are fed to the public as the unquestionable, sacred truth.

    The Venus/Earth comparison, all by itself, shreds not only all of the alarmist climate science theory, it shows that the “measured global mean surface temperature” record(s) is a farce–there has been NO global warming since the development of the Standard Atmosphere Model a century and more ago.

  10. Rosco

    Why is it not probable that the ocean warming originating on the coasts of the western America’s and then spreading which seem to indicate a new El-Nino cannot be due to underwater volcanic activity along the so-called “ring of fire” ?

    The cyclic nature of ENSO could be explained by pressure relief during El-Nino extra volcanic activity which then subsides significantly resulting in a slowdown in activity until pressure builds again.

    There appears to have been an anomalously high amount of volcanic activity in recent years.

    Surely this cannot simply be dismissed ?

  11. Rosco

    I’m obviously not dismissing the Sun’s role in surface ocean heating – simply wondering if underwater volcanic activity may well be responsible for anomalous behaviour.

  12. Ian G

    1914 and 1915 were both very warm years.
    Then 1916, 1917 and 1918 cooled quite dramatically.
    Will we see the same event happen 100 years later?

  13. Stephen Wilde

    I have two key hypotheses that are directly relevant here.

    i) As to how solar variations have a multidecadal effect on global temperature and air circulation by affecting global cloudiness which alters the balance between El Ninos and La Ninas:

    That article might be helpful to Joe Bastardi in understanding how solar variability can link to his own observations.

    ii) As to how convection changes to neutralise radiative imbalances so that an atmosphere can be retained for the very long term:

    That fits with the points made by Harry Huffman, DirkH and many others.

    Additionally I have dealt with the role of the oceans here:

    which sets the oceans as the primary determinant of global air temperaure

    and here:

    which identifies the weight of air pressing down on the ocean surface as the factor which determines how much energy the oceans can retain at a given level of insolation.

    Taken together, those articles form the basis for a new model of climate.

  14. el gordo
  15. Tremendous Cooling Of Northern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperatures …Sharp Spell Of Global Cooling Ahead? | wchildblog

    […] No Tricks Zone, by […]

  16. Paul Vaughan

    Joe appears (largely) aware of secular persistence:

    But without deeper appreciation / understanding of these…

    …misses multidecadal regional aberration from global mean due to equator-pole spatiotemporal pulsing:

    Supplementary (multidecadal):

    Joe: It’s extremely rude to call this a “game”.


    Important North Atlantic multidecadal-interpretation cautionary-note:

    Clustered spatiotemporally physically aliased ENSO variance (not to be confused with the mean) biases centennial interhemispheric aberration (from combined secular & multidecadal):