Unusual Warm Water 'Blob' Studied Off Coast Of California

By Al Macias
Published: Monday, May 11, 2015 - 9:09am
(Photo by Jesse Allen - NASA Earth Observatory)
Sea surface temperature anomaly in March 2015.

A mysterious large "blob" of warm water is lurking off the coast of California.

Researchers from around the globe met at University of California San Diego last week to decipher what the formation actually is. The large pool was first detected in the Pacific Ocean in late 2013 and now stretches from Alaska to Mexico.

Art Miller, climate researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said the large warm blob of water is unusual and is affecting weather patterns across the West Coast.

"If the ocean is anomously warm, then the air that we essentially live in is going to be a little bit warmer than normal," Miller said. "People for instance who live in Seattle, Oregon and California, as the air moves in from there it will be a little bit warmer. It’s not going to say if it’s going to be rainier but it’ll make it a little bit warmer."

Miller also said the moving patches of warm water are typically preludes to El Niño, but this case is different, because it doesn’t meet all the conditions of an El Niño pattern.