Mystery Blob Found In Pacific Ocean Cause Of California Drought?

Tara Dodrill

A "mystery blob" of water was found in the Pacific Ocean along the United States West Coast. Some researchers feel that the warm blob could be the cause of the California drought and the long winter freeze in the East.

The mystery blob was first noticed last year. The 2,000-mile wide warm water blob possesses temperatures approximately two to seven degrees above normal water temperatures. The mass is 30 feet deep. The mysterious mass is extended along the Pacific Ocean from Mexico to Alaska. The blob may have been present since 2013, when it was first noticed that fish had begun to "seek shelter" away from the mass.

Scientists have not yet been able to determine what caused the warm water blob. How long it will take for the mass in the Pacific Ocean to dissipate is also an unanswered question. Dr. Nick Bond, a climate scientist at the University of Washington, was the first person to start referring to the warm water mass as the "blob." A study by the university revealed that a high-pressure ridge could have caused the formation by trapping heat in the water.

Dr. Bond does not think the Pacific Ocean blob was caused due to global warming or climate change, but it could be a sign of "similar weather" to come.

"This is a taste of what the ocean will be like in future decades. It wasn't caused by global warming, but it's producing conditions that we think are going to be more common with global warming."

Dr. Bond added, "In the fall of 2013 and early 2014 we started to notice a big, almost circular mass of water that just didn't cool off as much as it usually did, so by spring of 2014 it was warmer than we had ever seen it for that time of year."

They mystery blob may have "contributed" to the mild winter in the state of Washington and could be indicative of the strong possibility of a warmer summer, according to climate researchers. The study on the blob also reportedly revealed that as air passes over warmer water and reaches the coast, it brings more heat and less snow. Due to this reaction, the research scientists believe that the Pacific Ocean blob caused current drought conditions in California, Oregon, and Washington.

If the Pacific Ocean blob is playing a role in circulating colder temperatures on the East Coast as researchers maintain, it may have been at least part of the cause for the hard winter.

The warm water blob has had a negative impact on the marine ecosystem, climate scientists claim. Fish have reportedly been spotted in "unusual places," and marine life is suffering because their food supply has been disrupted. The spike in water temperature caused by the Pacific Ocean blob has decreased the level of nutrients in the seawater.

What do you think about the mystery blob in the Pacific Ocean?

[Image via: NOAA]