back to article Mid-Atlantic Ocean temperatures peaked in 1998

The water temperature in the subtropical Atlantic Ocean has cooled down since 1998, oceanographers report. Measurements since 1957 had shown a rise of more than ¼ of a degree up to that point, but between 1998 and 2006 the ocean stopped warming and cooled by 0.15°C in the same area. The measurements of sea temperature were …


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  1. Gideon 1


    Aye, any warming must be climate change, any cooling definitely isn't.

    1. Dave 15 Silver badge


      I thought all warming, all cooling, all wind, all cloud, all farts were all a direct result of climate change which is the reason (none other of course) why all governments in the 'developed world' are busy trebling taxes on any form of transport, heating, manufacturing...

      Of course now the 'cold war' has ended and Russia is not going to invade, we've shown the terrorists from the middle east aren't a real threat there has to be something to keep the plebs in their place.... somewhere close to the sewers while the rich do what the hell they like,

    2. BraveOak


      Well the world, and the oceans themselves, have warmed globally since 1998, so evidentally this particular subset of the oceans not warming doesn't really mean much at all. In fact subsets of cooling in small areas as the globe as a whole warms is quite normal, just as despite global population rise there are some places with falling population.

      So this entire article doesn't make much sense. What's so special about "the parallel 24.5 degrees of latitude north of the equator running from the African coast to the Caribbean"? I mean it might be special if you were studying it, but it doesn't seem a relevant thing for the Register to report unless the Register is trying to falsely imply that this has relevance to the globe as a whole.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Meet the Climate Sceptics

    Meet the Climate Sceptics: Storyville

    Mon, Jan 31, 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM (60 mins)


  3. Dazed and Confused

    The ocean's natural variability mechanisms are more significant than we thought

    And also in the News, reports are coming that tomorrows weather forecast might not be 100% reliable so we are going over live to our reporter who is standing in a puddle outside the MET office.

  4. Marcus Aurelius


    Well is the globe warming up or not?

    I want to know whether to pack my snowshoes or bikini for my summer holiday....

    1. John Murgatroyd


      It's warming.

      Since 1880 the world has warmed-up by 0.8 degrees centigrade.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        When will people stop using that word? It's 'celsius', 'fahrenheit' or, for the real hardcore, 'kelvin'.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Same old climate delusions.

    When the "evidence" supports their pet delusion of man made climate change they can't wait to ram it down our throats while happily and smugly gloating.

    When the evidence says something that goes against their dogma they act like the most ignorant creationist and claim it doesn't count.

    And they wonder why so many people don't trust a word they say.

    1. Captain Save-a-ho

      Downvotes are in denial

      Norfolk is right about the effect in place. Global Climate Change (or whatever it's called this week) is not science. It's politics. The situation has been perfectly clear now that nothing about climatology is clear cut and there isn't any consistent, scientific research to back the claims of either side in the debate.

      At best, we can say that we still don't know enough to make any determination whether humans are having a measurable impact on the climate of our planet.

      1. BraveOak


        Since when have glaciers, global temperature, CO2 levels and sea levels been politics? These things are measured to be changing.

        "At best, we can say that we still don't know enough to make any determination whether humans are having a measurable impact on the climate of our planet."

        We know for a fact that humans are having a measurable impact on the climate of our planet, simply because we've measured it. CO2 levels are now running at near 15 million year highs. We've measured the radiative changes induced by that. We have also measured ocean pH changes induced by the CO2 rise.

        The uncertainty in the science merely prevents us from concluding the future extent of these ongoing changes will be safe. Until it can be proven safe, it's a threat. Simple as.

        1. Swoop

          @ BraveOak

          "These things are measured to be changing"

          No-one is denying that. They are changing. All the climate variables you mention, and a multitude of others, have been in a state of constant fluctuation since the formation of planet Earth, but only in the last decade or two have these fluctuations become politics. And it's this fact that makes people sceptical of the whole AGW agenda and makes reasoned debate virtually impossible.

          About time we got back to real science instead of trying to make hockey sticks out of every slightest little fluctuation in the numbers.

      2. jm83


        It's never going to be certain one way or the other, however, if we act and man made climate change is wrong then all we will have done is saved some energy, created some new sciencey industry, possibly found new fuel sources and generally increased effeciency/reduced wastage all round.

        What happens if no one does anything and man made climate change turns out to be real?

    2. BraveOak


      Your mistake is thinking cooling in one region goes against global warming.

      If I point you at a region on Earth with a falling population will you interpret that as going against global population rise?

    3. Iain 14
      Thumb Down

      That's funny...

      "When the evidence says something that goes against their dogma they act like the most ignorant creationist and claim it doesn't count."

      I find it ironic to see Climate Change advocates likened to Creationists, because all the Creationists I know - and I actually know quite a lot - are very strong Climate Change skeptics*.

      This is partly because both Evolution and Climate Change ring "Distrust of Science" bells with these people, but it has to be said that it's also because a lot of CC research goes back over hundreds of thousands of years - and obviously Creationists don't believe the Earth is that old (I've always suspected this was at least one factor in George W Bush's unwillingness/inability to accept CC...)

      * Obviously the reverse doesn't follow...

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Same old same old

      "When the evidence says something that goes against their dogma they act like the most ignorant creationist and claim it doesn't count."

      Actually that's what the believers in Evolution do. Curiously both CC and Evolution believers try to prevent any publication of contrary scientific research.

  6. Ian McLaughlin

    more idiot fuel

    more fuel for those choosing to ignore the Global component of Global Warming

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Here we go again

    So what sort of distortions and half truths are behind this contribution from Lewis Page?

    I suppose we had better wait for the deconstruction from Peter Hadley.

    I still remember the last time Page published an denialist article based on reading a press release and some dodgy maths.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Here we go again

      I don't see anything "denialist" in there at all. It's a straight report from some oceanographers stating that they have seen a 0.15 degree cooling recently, which they describe as "unusual".

      It does mention that previously there had been the fat end of 0.25 degrees of warming since 1957. Nowhere does it seem to mention what that was described as or attributed to (although I'll bet I can guess) and as far as I can make out, you're left to make your own mind up as to what's actually going on. For some reason you seem to have gone all warmist/defensive over this. What's the problem? Is the science on that side of the fence now so piss-poor that rhetoric and mud-slinging has to be used as a substitute?

      As for quoting the Graun blog section here, that's like quoting the message boards of the Faily Heil as a reliable source of factual information in a debate on censorship. It pleases me to award you an icon for that one alone.

      1. BraveOak


        "It's a straight report from some oceanographers stating that they have seen a 0.15 degree cooling recently"

        In a specific subset of the ocean which has no obvious relevance to global warming. It's not like the entire ocean has been warming in tandem - different regions cool and warm, but global warming means overall they are on average warming. And the oceans have warmed past 1998.

        So why was *this* particular report chosen out of dozens of compariable science reports in the last week (many far more interesting and relevant)? That's the $1,000,000 question. And there really is only one answer isn't there?

        The reason this article has been posted is because the author thinks, or hopes readers will think that it is saying something Not The IPCC about global warming. And we can see from the comments so far that plenty of people have interpreted it thusly. Even you when you "bet" that the researchers had previously attributed the warming to we-know-what but now aren't.

        "For some reason you seem to have gone all warmist/defensive over this. What's the problem? "

        As explained above. It's like if a creationist had posted an article about some geological feature being "younger than we thought". Everyone would know why they posted it and it wouldn't be because it was relevant in the way they thought.

        1. Not That Andrew

          Why the defensiveness?

          Why the Defensiveness?

          1) 24.5 N is just N of the Tropic of Cancer, so it is a fairly logical place to be measuring sea temperatures. Especially for Spaniards (easy access and all). And they measured across the whole N Atlantic so you can hardly claim it's "isolated".

          2) Neither the article or the original study state "we can't find any link to Global Warming (or Anthropogenic Climate Change), so Global Warming is incorrect" As some commentators seem to be assuming. According to Google tranlate the original article states:

          "However, scientists dismissed the hypothesis of thaw despite some water bodies, originating in the Antarctic and the Mediterranean influence in the area studied. The drop in temperature "should have been clearly observed in areas near the North Pole," said Velez Belchí. And that has not happened"

          No denial of Anthropogenic Climate Change that I can see. Just saying that its not linked.

  8. Anonymous John

    Another nail in the coffin of MMGW.

    I don't doubt we are responsible for rising CO2, but that's only one minor factor in the always changing climate.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    Did they move the tropics? Surely anything in the northern hemisphere at 24.5 degrees of latitude is supertropical ;)

    1. Not That Andrew

      Where the hell did you study geography?

      Where the hell did you study geography? To quote Wackypædia, which is accurate for this sort of thing:

      "The subtropics are the geographical and climatical zone of the Earth immediately north and south of the tropical zone, which is bounded by the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, at latitudes 23.5°N and 23.5°S. The term "subtropical" describes the climatic region found adjacent to the tropics, usually between 20 and 40 degrees of latitude in both hemispheres."

  10. nederlander

    somewhere on the planet got a bit cooler..

    And there was me thinking that ever increasing rates of consumption were a bad idea! Silly me, time to buy a 4x4.

  11. jm83

    Climate Change

    The average weather in one locale is not Climate.

    1. Captain Save-a-ho


      Do yourself and others a favor and read about thermohaline circulation. You'll quickly understand why the particular latitude mentioned is significant (or you'll give up, hopefully).

      1. jm83

        Armchair science

        So taking the average along one line of latitude give you the full picture? It tell's scientists something, but nothing about global climate change (man made or not).

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Can you move all these global warming articles to a new website? They have nothing to do with IT.

    I see that is still available, you're in luck!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Who's in denial?

      I have a pair of musical ear muffs you can borrow. No sound gets in, and they play a very pretty "Tra-La-La" song.

      Perfect for the anti-denialist who's in denial.

  13. Chris Procter

    Lost credibility...

    After Lewis got royally shown up last time.

    Please tell us why we should pay attention?

  14. breakfast

    The missing piece of the puzzle

    I lived in Wales in the Nineties and I used to go surfing quite a lot. I guess '98 was about the last year I did much of that.

    Clearly I actually am so hot I raised the temperature of the whole damn ocean.

    1. envmod


      raised the temperature you say?

  15. Steve Graham

    Packing my bags

    News of sustained changes in Atlantic circulation is very alarming. As is well-known, the British Isles are only habitable because of the warm currents flowing from the tropics. If these were disturbed, our climate could become like that of Canada, and nobody wants that.

    1. Spl0dger

      Packing my bags

      But just think of the potential for winter sports on all our lovely slopes!

  16. Anthony 11

    Did anybody read the article before commenting?

    All they are actually saying is that this cooling should not be taken as evidence for or seen as related to any general warming. Nor as evidence against.

    They're not saying Global warming is or isn't happening, or is or isn't man made... why all the jumping up and down?

    Cool down everybody...

  17. jonathanb Silver badge

    Cherry picking data

    1998 was an unusually hot year. Can you tell me what the trend is like if you chose 1997 or 1999 as your reference point?

    1. Arthur Dent

      Cherry picking data

      <quote>1998 was an unusually hot year. Can you tell me what the trend is like if you chose 1997 or 1999 as your reference point?</quote>

      Read the article, jonathanb, and you'll see why no-one can give you a meaningful answer using 1997 or 1999 as the point of division.

      1998 was the last year of the recent upward trend of the mean close to surface temperatures on the 24.5N parallel in the Atlantic. This steady increase (which lasted about 42 years) was followed by a decline and in the following 8 years that area of ocean lost more that half the temperature increase gained in the preceeding 42 years. You can't campare behaviour on two sides of a turning point by taking something other than the turning point as your base point, it would make no sense.

      It's quite clear that the rapid decrease was not caused by global warming, but was part of the ordinary short term variation in ocean temperatures in that area caused by short term wind variations leading to slightly different current patterns. That's pointed out in the article quite straightforwardly.

      All the comments about how this relates to global warming and slagging off the article as being written from a NNCC-sceptic POV are bullshit, and your reference to "cherry picking" is probably the stupidest.

  18. E 2

    New data panic

    It might just be that we got access to new data sources for temp of various parts of the planet during the past 60-odd years, and the variations in temp, not matching prior models, induced a moral panic.

  19. Johnny Canuck
    Thumb Down


    Did you read the article? It says "Measurements since 1957 had shown a rise of more than ¼ of a degree up to that point". Then it began to decline.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      @johnny canuck

      I did read that. Every year from 1999 to 2010 has been colder than 1998. There is no doubt about that. However I don't think you can conclude from this that the world is now entering a cooling phase. All the other factors which affect global temperature besides CO2 concentration pointed to 1998 being a hotter than average year. In 2010, all these other factors pointed to it being a colder than average year, however, for the first 11 months of the year, it was on course to be the hottest year ever, and only the cold spell in December pulled it in to 2nd place.

      So, any time I see 1998 being mentioned, I wonder if a denialist is trying to manipulate statistics to his own end. That's why I ask, is there a cooling trend since 1997 or 1999? Does the 5 year moving average show a cooling trend since 1998? I think you will find the answer to these questions is no. The denialists would be very quick to point out any manipulation of statistics by scientists, and I think the denialists should be held to the same high standards that are expected of scientists.

  20. Mr_Pitiful

    Argo Bouys

    I have a video I made launching them from the aft of a survey vessel in 2005

    They are fantastic pieces of kit

    All of ours were in the South Atlantic Ocean 35.5 degrees south of the equator

    They are really heavy but bouyant

    Activated by magnets

  21. JeffyPooh

    Maybe it's all the icy water dribbling off Greenland

    Something on the order of about 100,000,000,000 tonnes per year. All that ice splashing into the northern Atlantic ocean, which is connected to the Mid-Atlantic. So maybe that explains at least part of it. Maybe...

    Then again, the ocean is pretty big.

  22. VeganVegan

    The IT angle

    "a rise of more than ¼ of a degree". Say 0.25 degree (ignoring the "more than" part)

    "cooled by 0.15°C"

    Net: as any phule nose, 0.25 -0.15 = 0.1 degree warmer*.

    * Fahrenheit, Celsius, Kelvin, or some hilarious Reg unit** is not specified; but no matter, as long as the same units are used

    * I have no idea whether or how this may or may not be taken as evidence for/against global warming

    ** Is there an official Reg unit for temperature? If not, may I suggest the temperature of beer in the UK versus the USA; or perhaps Indian versus Thai curry, as units to consider.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the science is irrelevant

    Sadly the actual science underpinning any climate change argument has become irrelevant - rather like terrorism or child protection it has become a justification for all manner of ludicrous laws and financial jiggery-pokery which have no real impact on the underlying problem or its causes, but are instead intended to empower and enrich one group at the expense of the rest.

    Even the debate itself is beneficial in that it diverts attention - any attempt to question what is being done, or to challenge those making money out of nothing (which always ends well for the rest of us), is morphed into 'denialism' and an attack on the future of the human race.

    From the steps actually being taken around the world I'd suggest that very few if any senior politicians, civil servants or finance experts believe there is a real threat to them or their family from climate change; they do believe there is a lot of money, influence and power to be had on the back of it.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Global warming is definetly real though...

    ... it's caused by internet pornography, seriously look at the timelines. As the internet has become more saturated by perverts, and filled with more and more porn, so the climate has become more and more screwed up. It must be all the vented excess body heat.

    So now we've established an IT angle for global warming we can all go on reading about these great climatic discoveries.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    T'was me...

    I moved in the UK in 1997, and moved out 7 times since then. I tend to stock heavily on ice cubes in the freezer, and have had to throw them back into the water system on each occasion. I'm sorry. I bought a house now, so that shouldn't happen anymore.

  26. Livinglegend

    Only one thing

    is sure. The temperature goes up, the temperature goes down, the taxes will always go up and up to pay for the nonsense of a tiny amount of the normal, fluctuating temperature change.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Goodbye Register

    Actually what I find most disturbing is the Register's self proclaimed attitude that "oho, we're not sceptics, we just challenge, we spike everybody" etc, etc, like Orlovski's post yesterday with

    "Oxburgh's appointment raised eyebrows at the time, you may recall – an investor in renewable energy, he failed to disclose all his interests in his Parliamentary register."

    Oh, those wicked warmists, look at them. But the Register is strangely quiet on the revelations that Patrick Michaels could well have mislead the US congress on his funding sources.

    This article is spun the same way. Clearly it's of interest to see how Atlantic gyres flow, but a study looking at heat flow across a particular line of latitude is turned into more troll bait.

    I must confess I get more interesting info from

    these days.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Goodbye, hippy

      The pseudoscience is falling apart without El Reg's help.

      Keep up the good work lads.

  28. ShaggyDoggy


    It's a dynamic ever-changing planet.

    Get. Over. It.

    k thx

  29. Spotthelemon

    The ocean's natural variability mechanisms

    The register picked up on this because it had the word cooling in it. This was actually a study of the oceans natural variability mechanisms and specifically what happens at one area which was chosen because it was identified as being important for those mechanisms. The relevance to climate change is that a better understanding of these mechanisms should lead to better climate modelling in the future. It's not particularly useful as a global temperature measurement because, apart from being a relatively small area, its a bit like trying to measure the temperature of your bath by putting a thermometer in the bath under your tap, the readings will be skewed by the temperature of any water dripping out of the tap. If you want a good temperature reading for the oceans then you take readings in a large number non-volatile areas not in one particularly volatile area.

  30. neil 15

    Fail in science reporting

    You would have thought that an ex navy officer would have some clue about oceanography. Go do some actual research instead of regurgitating crap from other websites about papers that are several month old and hardly cutting edge news.

    In the paper, it also mentions a significant freshening of the water, that is a decreased salinity. Just a suggestion that you should pay attention to that, which is arguably much more important, the two are interconnected. But I suppose that would get in the way of your ignorance of science. If you read the actual press release article, it mentions that the cooling is not seen at the poles as would be expected, therefore the the most logical reason is localised conditions, wid as they argue. The lack of similar cooling at the poles would mean that it is not ocean wide cooling, and so your reporting of this is pointless.

  31. Aggellos
    Thumb Up

    It is not denial because you question theories based on findings

    bad science is bad science, like the email debacle or what was called "climate gate" they used different figures for a small section of data beacuse the last 20yr's of tree ring data does not correctly represent the actual climate data during that peirod.

    So if the last 20 yrs of tree ring data does match the climate what does it say about tree ring data that sometimes is does not truly represent the climate, rather than answer the question why the data sets dont match up it is ingnored thus bad science not a conspriacy.

    Same here the data confilcts with climate models rather answer it they will ingnore it with rough guesses as to why the results are what they are and thus bad science.

    I agree humanity is effecting climate change but so are many other things and until we take all the data into account and don't ignore data that disagrees with a personal thoery , it does matter which side of the fence you sit on bad science is bad science.

    1. BraveOak


      But it is denial if someone claims the manmade global warming is in anyway in doubt because of 20yrs of tree ring data

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You're just a muppet

      Re: the data conflicts with climate models .

      Does it?

      You think climate models can simulate the details of circulation in all ocean basins do you? Well how about the below study, published today (Friday). do you think that twat Orlovski will do a piece on this?

      Warming North Atlantic Water Tied to Heating Arctic

      Speaking as one who's done loads of OU Courses on Earth Science, even _I_ think the level of understanding displayed by the Register and its troll hordes is lamentable. I don't suppose you know the first thing about the role the North Atlantic plays in glacial onset and the _unique_ position it plays due to precipitation patterns.

      And you think you're qualified to determine bad science do you?

      1. efeffess

        What we amateurs should take from this is...

        1) climatology is a complicated study;

        2) assumptions have no place in science except to try to make climate model results fit together in the pursuit of actual facts;

        3) people in the line for a quick buck are constantly budging in front of one another.

  32. Spotthelemon

    Sea Temperatures

    There's a piece of research just published in Science which is a study of historic sea temperature in the Fram Strait ( near Greenland), it has found that having remained relatively stable until around 1850, the average summer seawater temperatures in the strait have increased by around 2 °C since then. Another study recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that warming in the West Atlantic has caused the Gulf Stream off the coast of Canada to drift northwards from its historic position in recent years.

    These two studies like the one in the Register article tell you nothing (on their own) about trends in global sea temperatures, they are all studies of sea temperature in very specific regions which are considered important by climate scientists and others for differing reasons. Given the register apparently considers studies of sea temperature in specific locations (as opposed to studies of global sea temperature) worthy of articles, I am somewhat surprised that they haven't reported on these studies too given they are at least of similar importance in scientific terms.

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