Saturday, September 21, 2013

NOAA: Record Global Sea surface temperatures for August 2013

In August 2013 global sea surface temperatures (SST) set a new record. The August average sea surface temperature was 0.57°C above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.4°F), tying with 1998, 2003, 2005, and 2009 as the record highest for August.

This record warmth comes despite La Nina/El Nino (ENSO) neutral conditions in place for the last 16 months with below-average temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific.

A global analysis on ocean temperatures from NOAA stated:

"The August global ocean temperature tied with 1998, 2003, 2005, and 2009 as record highest for August, at 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the 20th century average. Regionally, the tropical oceans (20°N–20°S) were 12th warmest on record for August, while both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere oceans above 20° latitude (outside the tropics) were record warm, at 0.81°C (1.46°F) and 0.55°C (0.99°F) above their long-term averages, respectively. With respect to specific areas, according to the Land & Ocean Temperature Percentiles map above, part of the Barents Sea in the Arctic region, sections of the western Pacific Ocean, and part of the south central Indian Ocean were record warm for August. Many other regions across all of the oceans were much warmer than average."

The NOAA State of the Climate global analysis for August 2013 also reported that the global land surface temperatures were also high, although not record breaking.

"The global land surface temperature was 0.77°C above the 20th century average of 13.8°C, the 11th warmest August on record."

Australia, on the other hand, has just set a record for the warmest 12 month period from September 2012 to August 2013, with an early onset of bushfire season in early September.

Warmer Sea surface temperatures are also affecting coral reef systems and the movement of fisheries. Marine heatwaves can have a devestating effect on the marine environment, such as the 2011 Western Australian Extreme Marine Heatwave.

There is much discussion over the hiatus in atmospheric land temperatures over the last 15 years. Recent research has shown that Deep Ocean warming Confirms Global Warming Has Accelerated.

Warm deep ocean currents are also contributing to Antarctic ice shelf melt and paradoxically causing Antarctic sea ice expansion. There has now been a ten fold increase in melt intensity on the Antarctic Peninsula over the last 600 years. Read more articles on Global warming and Antarctica