Marine heat waves are on the rise. What are these blobs of hot water?
Climate change is causing intense warming of Earth’s oceans more often and for longer, posing big risks to the animals and plants that live there.
The water began warming in the Gulf of Alaska in late 2013. Within a few months, sea surface temperatures had increased by an average of 5 degrees Fahrenheit, and in places by as much as 7°F. Initially affecting an area of ocean approximately 500 miles across and 300 feet deep, by mid-2014 it had more than doubled in size before ultimately stretching 2,000 miles from Alaska to Mexico. Scientists called it the blob, an example of a phenomenon known as marine heat waves, and over the course of three years it turned the North Pacific ecosystem inside out and upside down.
Plankton and krill numbers crashed. Numbers of Pacific cod off Alaska diminished,= before ultimately the population collapsed. Starving