Researchers Finally Tracked Down The Source of The Deadly Pacific Ocean 'Blob'

At its height, the terrifying marine heatwave known as the Blob wrecked much in its path and threatened fishing businesses by killing off large numbers of fish, birds, and other marine species.

Since then, the Blob has twice at least momentarily raised its head, indicating a persistent underlying cause.

Researchers have now discovered the systematic warming in the Pacific Ocean that drove the Blob's ascent, and their modeling supports the theory that it is not the consequence of normal climatic volatility as was previously hypothesized.

"Discovery of the long-term warming pool will now provide us with crucial information on the likelihood of such extreme events in the future," according to Armineh Barkhordarian, an atmospheric scientist at the Universität Hamburg.

In the Northeast Pacific, Barkhordarian and coworkers discovered an ongoing body of warmer water with a rise in annual mean temperatures of around 0.4 °C each decade. Since 20 years ago, the duration of the summertime in the sea has increased by 37 days.

The researchers also saw a decrease in low clouds over this area during the cold season, which typically have a cooling impact on the waters below. The atmospheric high-pressure systems over the warm water pool are strengthened as a result during the winter.

The scientists estimated that there is a less than 5% possibility that this high-pressure system has been exceptionally strengthened over winter due to natural fluctuation using many models.

A less than 1% possibility the Blob might have developed in 2019 without all the extra greenhouse gases humans have poured into our atmosphere was also highlighted by their calculations. During this maritime heatwave, temperatures rose up to 6 °C above usual.

These results are supported by earlier studies that revealed that due to human-induced climate change, marine heatwaves like the Blob are now 20 times more likely.

"This warming pool will continue to increase the water temperature in the future, increasing both the frequency and intensity of local marine heatwaves. The sharp increase in average water temperature is pushing ecosystems to their limits," Barkhordarian adds.

More than 100 million Pacific cod, hundreds of seabirds, and other animals that aren't even known to exist perished as a result of the scorching, stifling mass of water that began to form in 2013. Additionally, it fuelled enormous toxic algal blooms that destroyed fishing businesses and may be responsible for a 75% decrease in whale mother-calf contacts.

At the same time that the first Blob appeared, the mystery sea star wasting illness also began in the area.

Furthermore, the north Pacific is by no means the only region experiencing these maritime heatwaves. From the Atlantic to the southern seas, similar abrupt ocean warming events are wrecking havoc on fisheries and ecosystems.

Marine heatwaves have effects on species right away, but they may also cause severe droughts on surrounding land.

"More frequent and extreme marine heatwaves are a serious burden for affected ecosystems,'' says Barkhordarian. "This not only poses a tremendous threat to biodiversity; it can also push these marine ecosystems past a tipping point, after which they can no longer recover."

Many individuals throughout the world, including researchers and activists, are working to lessen the effect and intensity of these marine heatwaves.

This research was published in Communications Earth & Environment.
Researchers Finally Tracked Down The Source of The Deadly Pacific Ocean 'Blob' Researchers Finally Tracked Down The Source of The Deadly Pacific Ocean 'Blob' Reviewed by Lilit on June 30, 2022 Rating: 5
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