The Blob’ Causing Extreme Weather Anomalies in the Pacific

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A mass of warm water known as “The blob’ has been causing weather anomalies in the Pacific coast of the US for over a year now, and scientists are still stumped as to the blob’s origin. Spanning one thousand miles across and measuring three hundred feet deep, the blob has been persisting off of the West coast since the Fall of 2013. The warmer air coming from the Pacific has been blamed for the arid conditions in California, as well as the wildfire situation in the Pacific Northwest—the first wildfires in that area in recorded history. It is not only to blame for the weather anomalies in the West coast; it has been causing the cold downpours affecting the East as well.

The origin of the blob is a source of debate. One study concluded the weather anomaly occurred as a high-pressure ridge calmed the waters of the Pacific, causing less winter cooling. Other sources have even tried to blame radiation from Fukushima for the event. Whatever the cause, the effects have been staggering.

Along with extreme weather anomalies, the marine life of the Pacific is feeling the effects as well. The warmer waters have served as the perfect breeding ground for a much larger than normal toxic algae bloom. The neurotoxins emitted during this bloom are especially dangerous to marine mammals, which eat the shellfish that have been exposed to the bloom, and they are suspected of killing at least one humpback whale off the coast of Washington. The neurotoxins are also dangerous to humans, as they can cause brain damage, memory loss, and death. Great care is taken not to harvest shellfish exposed to the bloom.

With all of these weather anomalies happening right now, the Western US is bracing itself for a larger than normal El Niño. El Niño is known for bringing especially stormy and wet weather patterns to the West and is caused by warming of ocean temperatures along South America. The effects of combining the blob with El Niño conditions are currently unknown, but an increase of any of the weather anomalies in the area could be disastrous.

 

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