Publication Date February 10, 2016 | NEWS 1130

Is "The Blob" merely hiding below the ocean's surface?

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

Despite recent headlines trumpeting the dissipation of the warm-water phenomenon in the ocean off our coast, it may simply be going undercover rather than disappearing.

At least that’s the assertion of oceanographers like Jennifer Jackson at the Victoria-based Hakai Institute, which operates research stations along the BC Coast.

“Most of the data that NOAA uses are based on satellite imagery, which records temperatures on the surface of the ocean. At the surface, it’s definitely cooler than it was a year or two ago,” says Jackson.

“But we’ve been collecting data off of Calvert Island on the central BC Coast since 2012 and those data measure water temperature down to a few hundred metres. Away from the surface of the ocean the water is still quite warm, one to two degrees warmer than it was in the previous two winters"

The implications of a sunken, rather than surface-based, Blob are not known and Jackson says it will take more long-term monitoring to understand how it will affect seas-life and the climate along the coast