Warm 'Blob' Moves Toward West Coast

Rebecca Corral
September 11, 2019 - 3:29 pm
Sea lions bathe in the sun in La Jolla on the Pacific Ocean coast on August 7, 2018 in San Diego, California.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Categories: 

There's a huge area of warm water in the Pacific Ocean and marine biologists are becoming worried as it moves toward the coast. 

The so-called blob has appeared in the ocean before in 2015. It was blamed for juvenile sea lions that became stranded and blooms of algae that harmed dungeness crab and clam fisheries, according to Nate Mantua, a research scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Santa Cruz facility.

The warm water is formed from a persistent wind pattern that leads to an accumulation of heat.

"It is a kind of thing that happens in our weather day to day and week to week, all the time," Mantua said. 

Related: Massive Boom Hopes To Corral Pacific Ocean's Plastic Trash

"What's unusual is that this has persisted for about three months," he said.

Winds between Hawaii and the West Coast have been weak since June. 

Mantua ruled out climate change as a factor. 

If the winds pick up again, it's possible that the blob could be broken up, eliminating the risks Mantua outlined.