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Scientists Investigate Mysterious ‘Blob’ At UC San Diego

Sea surface temperature anomaly, March 2015.

Credit: Jesse Allen/NASA Earth Observatory

Above: Sea surface temperature anomaly, March 2015.

Scientists Discuss The "Blob"


Francisco Chavez
, senior scientist, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Art Miller, climate researcher, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Scientists from around the globe met at UC San Diego this week to decipher the mystery of the so-called “blob,” a large patch of warm water found in the Pacific Ocean.

The term was coined by the state climatologist in Washington. The large pool was first detected in the North Pacific Ocean late 2013 and now spans from Alaska to Mexico. Researchers say the water is nine degrees warmer than average.

But scientists are at odds over what the "blob" is and what is causing the unusually warm temperatures.

Art Miller, a climate researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, described the blob's magnitude as "intimidating."

"It's a detached pattern of warming," Miller told KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday. "It's impact on the marine ecosystem is sort of the most vital question. It's actually linked to the same weather patterns that have set up the drought."

Francisco Chavez, a senior scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium who attended the Pacific Anomalies Science and Technology Workshop held at UCSD, said the blob could also be the reason why more sea lions are coming ashore this year.

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