WOA-2013v2 will likely included in the upcoming release of the ``ocedata`` package, so I thought I should look into changes. Some results for SST and SSS are given here.
The ocedata package  provides data that may be of use to oceanographers,
either working with their own R code or working with the oce package . One
such dataset, called levitus, holds sea surface temperature and salinity
(SST and SSS), based on the 2013 version of the World Ocean Atlas. An updated
version of this atlas is suggested by the WOA authors to be an improvement ,
and so it will be used for an updated version of levitus in the upcoming
version of ocedata.
This blog item deals with differences between the two datasets.
First, the netcdf files for temperature and salinity were downloaded from
online sources [4,5]. Then the data were loaded as follows.
The figures confirm that the differences are mainly in high latitudes, with
estimates in Hudson’s Bay being particularly altered. A closer examination of
the author’s general locale may interest him, if nobody else…
The patterns of variation are as expected: the updated WOA differs mainly in
high latitudes. The differences seem mainly to arise in regions that are
anomalous compared to other waters at similar latitudes. For example, the
estimates for SST and SSS in Hudson’s Bay are markedly different in the two
atlases. I am not too surprised by this, and I’m not too concerned either; I
doubt that many researchers (other than some modelers) would have paid much
attention to WOA estimates for Hudson’s Bay. However, the changes in the
northern Labrador Sea are quite concerning, given the importance of that region
to Atlantic watermass formation, and the likelihood that WOA is used to
initialize numerical models.