World’s oceans cool but atmosphere and land temperature peaks in wake of the Super El Nino

Written by on August 17, 2018 in Rest of World with 0 Comments

While seas, bays and pockets of ocean are at record warm levels, it would appear the ‘global ocean thermostat’ has been turned down since peaking just ahead of the 2016 El Nino. So why have we had this so called ‘global heat wave’ in 2018?

Check out the level of ocean cooling in the last 2 years.

The cooling of the ocean certainly hasn’t reflected what’s been going on above as Europe and US have just observed the warmest May through July period on record according to NOAA.

Ocean heats then the atmosphere follows

In simple turns, the oceans heat first and then the air above heats by adding water vapour into the atmosphere. There is typically a 18-24-month lag between ocean and atmosphere when talking on a global scale and now following the Super El Nino, the oceans have sharply cooled and this can occur at the same time the atmosphere peaks in warmth following the initial warming. So, in theory and based on the past, we should see earth’s atmosphere cool in response to the cooling ocean.

Blame the solar cycle

The warming and cooling of the oceans is directly attributed to the sun and it’s solar cycles. The current solar cycle 24 which peaked in late 2014 into 2015 which coincides with a very warm global ocean. This was nicely followed by the 2016 Super El Nino. Since then the oceans are cooling and all the heat released from the ocean is now being felt on our landmasses but ocean cools first then so will the land coinciding with the fast approaching solar minimum expected in 2 to 3 years.

Below is the global sea surface temperature anomaly for mid August from 2015 to 2018. Note the exceptional warmth around the solar maximum and as the Super El Nino was maturing in 2015. We’ve likely seen the response to all this warmth this summer on our land areas.

Expect cooling of our atmosphere in the next couple of years.

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