Dec 8, 2015

The Pacific Ocean 'blob' is gone, but not its problems

Alaska
USA
by
Amy McDermott
,
Mercury News
Large waves break at Carmel River State Beach on Friday. (Vern Fisher - Monterey Herald)
Large waves break at Carmel River State Beach on Friday. (Vern Fisher - Monterey Herald)

The "blob," a warm patch of water in the northern Pacific Ocean associated with algal blooms and marine die-offs, is gone. But that doesn't mean the associated wildlife problems will go with it, scientists say. Unusually warm water has pocked the northern Pacific since 2013, spiking as high as six to seven degrees above average. In response, marine food webs have gone haywire...But now that the blob has dissipated -- thanks to strong winds from Alaska and Canada, which cooled offshore waters -- shouldn't marine food webs go back to normal? Not necessarily, says Clarissa Anderson, a researcher at the UC Santa Cruz Institute of Marine Sciences.