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Roughly five years ago, a huge patch of unusually warm ocean water appeared off the coast of North America, stretching from Mexico's Baja California Peninsula all the way up to Alaska.
It was nicknamed the Blob, after a horror film monster that consumes everything in sight. The heatwave, which lasted for several years, was an equally indiscriminate killer.
According to estimates, during this time the southern coast of Alaska lost more than 100 million Pacific cod. Thousands of seabirds were found washed up on the shore, and about half a million were decimated in total. In one year alone, populations of humpback whales dropped by 30 percent. Salmon, sea lions, krill, and other marine animals also vanished in astonishing numbers, as toxic algae bloomed.
Side by side, a comparison of both their early stages is ominous. Like the blob, the current marine heat wave emerged only a few months ago, as the winds that cool the ocean's surface began to die down.
Researchers tracking the phenomenon say the patch of ocean water is now roughly five degrees Fahrenheit above normal - just a degree or two less than temperatures during the last Blob.
Deep upwells of cold water have kept the heat wave from reaching the shore, but officials predict the event will likely have an impact on coastal ecosystems sometime this Northern Hemisphere fall.
For now, researchers at NOAA are focused on tracking, predicting and mitigating the effects of marine heatwaves. During the last Blob, for instance, many whales died by getting trapped in fishing nets, as the animals moved closer to shore to avoid the warmer waters.
If fisheries and ecologists can work together, researchers hope we might be able to reduce some of the losses in the future. In the end, though, our control of the situation is pretty limited.
Still, not all heatwaves are the same and these blobs are hard to predict. As quickly as they can emerge, they can also dissipate. Scientists say there's still a chance that weather patterns will change and that the current patch of warm water will cool down, but they're keeping their eye on it.
originally posted by: musicismagic
here in japan the oyster are dying off. I like them but now they go for like 1 buck a piece.
The ocean temps are /have changed in the last 3 years, that is a fact.
For the second consecutive year bluefin tuna, more common in the Mediterranean and Gulf of Mexico, have been seen in huge numbers in Jersey waters.
...Scientists believe that climate change and rising sea temperatures are responsible for their migration further north.
originally posted by: Chance321
a reply to: LtFluffyCakes96
If that heat wasn't so far from Japan, I'd say it was radiation from Fukushima. Is there a caldera in that area?
originally posted by: butcherguy
Thank god it already killed all of us in 2014. That would make this round uneventful.