Latest posts by PJ (see all)
- Advanced Hunter Education Clinics 2018 - January 19, 2018
- Commercial Dungeness crab season will finally open on January 15, 2018 - January 12, 2018
- Wildlife is invading our cities and wild pigs are coming to live with us - January 8, 2018
The Blob was supposed to do battle with the Monster El Niño, wasn’t it?
The El Niño never unleashed its predicted monster fury. And now it is on the way out with a whimper. The Blob proved a smart warrior. It retreated temporarily to wait for better times. These times are a-coming, say scientists and weather experts.
Upon arrival of El Niño, the Blob receded into deeper waters. It sank to between 200 and 300 meters deep into the coastal waters along the West Coast.
The Blob (What’supwiththat)
The surface waters along the western coastline are no longer around 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than usual. Nevertheless, ocean temperatures are still higher than normal. The warm ocean water wreaked havoc on the marine environment preventing nutrient-rich cool water from reaching the surface.
And the consequences were dramatic. Starving baby seal washed up on our shores, whales swam closer to the coast than usual, Crab fisheries were closed, pelagic red crabs covered our beaches. And venomous sea snakes washed up on the shores of Santa Barbara county.
Moreover, the Blob had a devastating effect on weather patterns on land. Scientists almost unanimously blame it for our relatively mild winter and the weaker than expected El Niño. Though we had a wet winter in the Pacific Northwest, El Niño did not give us the widespread ample and strong rainfall predicted by the weather experts.
On the other hand, El Niño gave us a relatively cool spring and early summer.
Yet, overall the Blob managed to keep the upper hand. We can say that of the two weather phenomena the Blob has proven to have a longer lasting effect than El Niño.
Meet the Blob (phys.org)
After all, the jet stream never returned to its normal path. The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge of high pressure continued to divert it to the southeast.
Thus, the east coast experienced wet and cold polar vortex winters that we expected. The West Coast stayed relatively dry and mild.
The same weather experts who predicted the monster weather pattern are now telling us to brace for La Niña in the fall of 2016 and into 2015.
La Niña comes with dry conditions on land and cooler ocean waters offshore. Eventually, they say, La Niña will do what El Niño could not: Cool off the Blob.
If and when that happens, we might get a chance to see our ecosystem return to its normal condition.
“Now, both The Blob and El Niño are on their way out, but in their wake lies a heavily disrupted ecosystem,” says Michael Jacox, of UC Santa Cruz and NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center, the lead author of one of two studies on this ocean phenomenon.