Scripps Institution of Oceanography has organized scientific workshop next week to investigate a “blob” of high-temperature water in the North Pacific.
The “blob” is the nickname for an area of the North Pacific that has been as much as 9 degrees warmer than average and could be a cause of both the West Coast drought and the extreme winter weather on the East Coast.
The 2014-2015 Pacific Anomalies Science and Technology Workshop on March 5 and 6 will include federal, private, state and local scientists and coastal managers as well as researchers from Canada and Mexico.
The patch of water is 1,000 miles wide and as much as 300 feet deep and sits below a strong and persistent ridge of high atmospheric pressure that keeps winds light.
This warm water reduced the plankton food supply in the region, causing some fish species to move to waters off Alaska. Sea birds and sea lions are dying off or becoming emaciated because of a lack of food.
“Maybe it will go away quickly and we won’t talk about it anymore, but if it persists for a third year, then we’ll know something really unusual is going on,” said Dennis Hartmann of the University of Washington.
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