2014 – The Highest Global Mean Sea Surface Temperatures Ever Recorded

Warmest Oceans Ever Recorded

Figure 1: a) NOAA Sea Surface Temperature anomaly (with respect to period 1854-2013) averaged over global oceans (red) and over North Pacific (0-60oN, 110oE-100oW) (cyan). September 2014 temperatures broke the record for both global and North Pacific Sea Surface Temperatures. b) Sea Surface Temperature anomaly of September 2014 from NOAA’s ERSST dataset. Credit: Axel Timmermann

New data reveal the highest global mean sea surface temperatures ever recorded, indicating that the 14-year-long pause in ocean warming has come to an end.

“This summer has seen the highest global mean sea surface temperatures ever recorded since their systematic measuring started. Temperatures even exceed those of the record-breaking 1998 El Niño year,” says Axel Timmermann, climate scientist and professor, studying the variability of the global climate system at the International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

From 2000-2013 the global ocean surface temperature rise paused, in spite of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. This period, referred to as the Global Warming Hiatus, raised a lot of public and scientific interest. However, as of April 2014 ocean warming has picked up speed again, according to Timmermann’s analysis of ocean temperature datasets.

“The 2014 global ocean warming is mostly due to the North Pacific, which has warmed far beyond any recorded value (Figure 1a) and has shifted hurricane tracks, weakened trade winds, and produced coral bleaching in the Hawaiian Islands,” explains Timmermann.

He describes the events leading up to this upswing as follows: Sea-surface temperatures started to rise unusually quickly in the extratropical North Pacific already in January 2014. A few months later, in April and May, westerly winds pushed a huge amount of very warm water usually stored in the western Pacific along the equator to the eastern Pacific. This warm water has spread along the North American Pacific coast, releasing into the atmosphere enormous amounts of heat–heat that had been locked up in the Western tropical Pacific for nearly a decade.

“Record-breaking greenhouse gas concentrations and anomalously weak North Pacific summer trade winds, which usually cool the ocean surface, have contributed further to the rise in sea surface temperatures. The warm temperatures now extend in a wide swath from just north of Papua New Guinea to the Gulf of Alaska (Figure 1b),” says Timmermann.

The current record-breaking temperatures indicate that the 14-year-long pause in ocean warming has come to an end.

15 Comments on "2014 – The Highest Global Mean Sea Surface Temperatures Ever Recorded"

  1. Yeah, right. Sure it was. That thoroughly explains why the middle of the country was cold all year and why we are already setting cold temp and snow records. Get ‘yer snowblower ready, we have a major dose of frozen global warming coming.

    • I.E., “I see your global climate pattern and raise you a local weather event.” Seems legit

    • Weather is not climate. And 2014 is projected to be the warmest year on the record anyhow. Repeat after me: “Weather is not climate. Just because it’s cold in one place doesn’t mean the whole planet is cooling”

    • Yes, because where you live makes up the majority of the globe.

  2. Highest in the North Pacific yet the ice low measurement in the arctic was above average, Oh I forgot, ice occurs when it gets hot so now I know why my glass of ice water always has ice in it, 100 degrees,more ice. same reason we have below average temperatures here in the US, more heat in the north pacific. Incidentally the moon is made of green cheese so said a recent NASA study on the moons composition.

  3. It should be pointed out this data is not the actual temperature measurements, this nice picture comes from another reconstruction of the actual data, the third, and does not include the current satellite data which among other things shows August and September are not the hottest on record by many years, the past data is from a whole host of sources most of which are very short in duration so the guys doing this reconstruction have to plug a whole bunch of holes hundreds of miles across, and years in difference. The new bunch of guys doing the adjustments disagree with the old bunch of guys doing the adjustments and that is the reason we have the third reconstruction, the first two were bunk and so they started over to make sure the 16 year hiatus in warming went away. Since we are in the church of climate change, lets pray their adjustments represent something more than hot air.

  4. Yea! with antiquated land based temperature stations placed in urban heat islands that can measure 1/100’s of a degree. Stop the propaganda bull krap.

  5. Yea! with antiquated land based temperature stations placed in urban heat islands that can’t measure 1/100’s of a degree. Stop the propaganda bull krap

  6. Wow – 2 months of data proves warming is back. We taxpayers pay $23 billion/year for global warming. Why? NOAA data shows warming is slowing over last 18 years even with large rise in CO2. It is mainly methane and wonderful MAMA Nature and her cycles with her honey Mr. Sun, water vapor, oceans and volcanoes when she blows her top, and opens methane holes when she has gas – as her home the Earth tilts on its axis.
    Search: “natural-tilts-earths-axis-ice-ages-harvard-geophysicist”

  7. Left out of the article is the fact that systematic measuring of the ocean surface temperature began in 2007, when the ARGO system reached its initial goal of 3,000 floats. Seven years is not an extremely impressive time span.

  8. People were taking global mean sea surface temperatures in 1880?
    I call BS.
    Also, after the El Nino, the temps will go back down again. Your hysteria is fabricated at best.

  9. It still is not enough. There is not enough thermal energy in the seas to force enough water vapor far enough inland to even sustain the existing glaciers, aside from the Himalayan glaciers. There is not enough thermal energy in the seas to even maintain our current acreage of arable lands with 30% of the land surface being desert, a percentage that has been growing for thousands of years. There is not enough thermal energy in the seas to provide more than a 5% atmospheric water vapor presence. The world is still cold from the last ice age, and glacial recession and desert encroachment have been the result for a long, long time. The warming observed is localized and not systemic, mostly based on microclimate heating due to a lack of evaporative cooling created by aridity caused by the inability of the existing thermal reserves in sea water to force sufficient vapor density to penetrate far inland.

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