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NOAA’s Adjusted SSTs Not Supported By Atmospheric Data

January 29, 2016

By Paul Homewood  




Between 1979 and 2001, atmospheric temperatures above the oceans, as measured by UAH, rose slightly faster then sea surface temperatures as measured by NOAA’s ERSST series, the one now used in their global temperature datasets.

This is exactly what would be expected. As NASA explain:


Sea surface temperatures have a large influence on climate and weather. Even changes of just a few degrees Celsius can influence large-scale weather phenomena, such as El Niño or tropical cyclones. One reason for this big influence is that evaporation from the oceans is the primary source of water vapor in the atmosphere. The warmer the water, the greater the evaporation.


It is this process of evaporation which cools the oceans, and subsequently warms the atmosphere via condensation.

Moreover, temperature changes in the atmosphere tend to be greater than on the sea surface because of the much larger heat content of the oceans. We see this effect during El Ninos and La Ninas.


But since 2001, that link has been broken. Whilst atmospheric temperatures have stalled, SSTs have carried on rising. 




As we know, the new version of SSTs, ERSST4, has been heavily adjusted to show a warming trend.

But unless the laws of physics have changed, those adjustments are not supported by the atmospheric data.

  1. January 29, 2016 2:22 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism.

  2. Sean permalink
    January 29, 2016 2:57 pm

    Perhaps an addendum has to be added to the expression, “never let a crisis go to waste”. The updated one should be “never let a crisis go to waste, even if you have to create it yourself”.

  3. Jason Calley permalink
    January 29, 2016 3:09 pm

    Hey Paul! Someone clue me in if I am missing something obvious, but is having a period of warming sea surface temperature really contradictory to having a stable atmospheric temperature? After all, the sea is massive and one would expect a lag of sea temperatures behind air temps. Do we know how long it takes sea surface temperatures to stabilize when the atmosphere goes through a step change? Of course increased sea surface temps will increase evaporation and that will tend to limit the increased temps, but the time scale during which that process takes place seems to me to be a major unknown.

    What am I missing?

    • January 29, 2016 4:15 pm

      But the sea warms the atmosphere, and not the other way round (or more strictly they both find their new equilibrium), so air should lag the sea, as we see during El Ninos, when atmospheric temps rise usually 3-6 months later.

    • Brian H permalink
      January 30, 2016 1:18 am

      Ya, you gots it bass-ackwards.

  4. January 29, 2016 4:09 pm

    What is really shocking about the second chart is that the discrepancy emerges when NOAA finally has decent ARGO data for SST. This post is a true smoking gun for ‘karlization’. Well done.

    • January 29, 2016 5:11 pm

      If there is “good” data available, it has to be marked “bad”. As we have just seen with the satellites. Next the radiosonde balloons. It would be funny were it not so harmful.

  5. ScottyMorePower permalink
    January 29, 2016 4:26 pm

    A “than”, not “then”.

  6. January 29, 2016 9:53 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  7. January 29, 2016 10:03 pm

    I’m guessing NOAA’s adjusting the more accurate but cooler buoy data upward to match the less accurate but warmer ship data is the cause of the recent upward separation. I’ve read the number of buoys has increased dramatically since 2000. More buoys, all adjusted upward, and they have suddenly created man-made catastrophic warming out of nothing. Why should more accurate data be adjusted to match less accurate data? NOAA needs to be called out on this one.

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