New Warm Ocean Blob Could Affect Southeast Winter Weather, Fisheries

By Matt Miller, KTOO Public Media

The Blob could be back. Or, maybe it’s the Son of Blob.

Either way, the warm water phenomenon first discovered in the North Pacific five years ago is slowly reemerging in the Gulf of Alaska.

Although it doesn’t appear to be as strong as the original, it could still affect weather and fisheries in Southeast Alaska.

Nick Bond is the Washington state climatologist who coined the name “the Blob” when he discovered the original patch of warm water emerging in late 2013.

“For the Gulf of Alaska, I would say it’s mostly, if not entirely new,” Bond said. “It might be a little bit of a different story for the Bering Sea.”

Bond said Gulf of Alaska weather was unusually quiet this past summer.

“Without winds to draw heat out of the ocean and to mix up colder water from below, the near-surface waters, again, got quite a bit warmer than normal,” Bond said.

Currently, the water in the Gulf is about four degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal. That isn’t as hot or doesn’t extend quite as deep as the original Blob. At least not yet.

“A caution to add: This isn’t the new normal,” Bond said. “But still, it’s kind of alarming that we’re talking about this sort of thing again so soon.”

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