The Pacific ‘Blob’ Is Back From the Dead; In Fact, It Never Left

WunderBlog – by Eric Chaney

Two climatological features that have loomed large over the Pacific Ocean for the past year have both been declared dead, but new research shows that one of them is still lurking in the ocean depths and still affecting marine ecosystems.

Clifford Mass, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington, wrote off The Blob, a persistent patch of unusually warm water in the northern Pacific, back in December 2015.   

This sea surface temperature anomaly graphic shows both the blob and El Nino as they were in September of 2015.

Chris Dolce, meteorologist for, did the same for El Niño saying it slowly faded away throughout the spring and had completely dissipated by early June.

But now, new research indicates that The Blob lives again – in fact, it was never dead to begin with. According to measurements taken by the Canadian Coast Guard, it simply slipped quietly beneath the waves.

“What we’re finding is that the upper waters are being mixed by the wind again and coming back to normal temperatures, but the residual effect of The Blob is still there at about 150 to 200 metres [below the surface],” Ian Perry, senior research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, told the CBC.

Even at this depth, Perry told the CBC, the warm water continues to prevent the mixing of nutrients to the ocean’s upper-layer, which has harmed coastal ecosystems over the past two years.

That may help account for new findings released by Jacox and his team, which indicate that “temperature and density fields reflect persistence of multiyear anomalies [i.e. The Blob] more than El Niño.”

The blob as recorded by NASA’s Earth Observatory in July of 2015.
(NASA Earth Observatory)

“We found that off California El Niño turned out to be much weaker than expected,” he told Eureka Alert. “The Blob continued to be a dominant force, and the two of them together had strongly negative impacts on marine productivity.”

According to study co-author Elliot Hazen, also of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, the broad-scale warming has disrupted marine life up and down the food chain, pushing pelagic red crabs onto beaches, humpback whales closer to shore, and sportfish further south.

“This paper reveals how broad-scale warming influences the biology directly off our shores,” he said.”

The Blob’s crazy back-from-the-dead act began in November 2015, NASA’s Earth Observatory reported, when strong winds blowing south from Alaska began to pick up and sea surface temperatures in the northeastern Pacific began to cool, a not-unexpected turn of events according to climate experts.

“Strong El Niño events … tend to generate big winter storms across the Northeast Pacific, “ said Weather Underground climate expert Bob Henson in October 2015. “Over time, the wind and waves from these and subsequent storms should act to erode the original midlatitude Blob.”

One thought on “The Pacific ‘Blob’ Is Back From the Dead; In Fact, It Never Left

  1. Once again, the MSM finds a way of spinning and renaming the Fukushima disaster to anything BUT Fukushima.

    Come on, MSM. Just say it with me, “F-U-K-U-S-H-I-M-A!”

    Was that so hard?

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