Monday, November 17, 2014

Patch Of Pacific Water Is Warmest In Decades

Nov. 16, 2014


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. For months scientists and climatologists have been watching a strange occurrence in the Pacific Ocean - unusually warm water from Baja, California to the Bering Sea in Alaska that just will not go away. In California, water temperatures have been five to six degrees higher than their historic averages. In the North Pacific, researchers say, they've never seen waters this warm for this long. Scientists are still trying to work out all of the things causing the anomaly. But as NPR's Nathan Rott reports, they're not the only ones experiencing its effects.


ROTT: Bond says that, no doubt, it's been a banner year for fishermen and observing scientists.

BOND: But I think there's a more important story here in what does this mean for our, you know, the whole ecosystem.

ROTT: Typically, he says, cold waters are more productive for aquatic life off the West Coast. So persistent warm waters could have broad implications for the area's food chain - especially seabirds and mammals.

BOND: We don't know how it's all going to play out, but it typically is probably kind of bad news for those kinds of guys.

ROTT: And for the humans living on the coast?

BOND: By having that warm water out there, it probably predisposes us to having a little bit warmer winter than normal.

ROTT: Bond says scientists expect the blob to dissipate. He stresses that it's only an anomaly, seemingly not related to climate change or a larger, longer trend. [But global warming might be making the water here warmer than it would have been. Since it's making the Pacific in general warming, how can we dismiss the possibility/probability that it is contributing to this warming?]


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