‘The Blob’ overshadows El Niño

Watts Up With That?

Research identifies earlier ocean warming as dominant effect off West Coast

'The Blob' and El Niño are on their way out, leaving a disrupted marine ecosystem behind. CREDIT Michael Jacox ‘The Blob’ and El Niño are on their way out, leaving a disrupted marine ecosystem behind. CREDIT Michael Jacox

From NOAA FISHERIES WEST COAST REGION

El Niño exerted powerful effects around the globe in the last year, eroding California beaches; driving drought in northern South America, Africa and Asia; and bringing record rain to the U.S. Pacific Northwest and southern South America. In the Pacific Ocean off the West Coast, however, the California Current Ecosystem was already unsettled by an unusual pattern of warming popularly known as “The Blob.”

New research based on ocean models and near real-time data from autonomous gliders indicates that the “The Blob” and El Niño together strongly depressed productivity off the West Coast, with The Blob driving most of the impact.

The research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters by scientists from NOAA…

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