Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"A 1,000 Mile Stretch Of The Pacific Ocean Has Heated Up Several Degrees And Scientists Don’t Know Why"

Ever since a physics prof told me, some (many) years back: "To heat the ocean, top to bottom, by one degree takes as much energy as heating the atmosphere by 1000 degrees" I've been watching the oceans.

That's one of the reasons that for the first few years of this blog's existence we was one of the few (only?) generalist sites that talked about the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation or the Pacific Decadal Oscillation in conjunction with global warming.

Now, from the same school that discovered the PDO back in 1996 comes another oddity.
From the University of Washington:

‘Warm blob’ in Pacific Ocean linked to weird weather across the U.S.
The one common element in recent weather has been oddness. The West Coast has been warm and parched; the East Coast has been cold and snowed under. Fish are swimming into new waters, and hungry seals are washing up on California beaches.

A long-lived patch of warm water off the West Coast, about 1 to 4 degrees Celsius (2 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal, is part of what’s wreaking much of this mayhem, according to two University of Washington papers to appear in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
Picture graph
“The blob” in April 2014, as shown in the July 2014 newsletter where it got its evocative name. The scale is in degrees Celsius.NOAA

“In the fall of 2013 and early 2014 we started to notice a big, almost circular mass of water that just didn’t cool off as much as it usually did, so by spring of 2014 it was warmer than we had ever seen it for that time of year,” said Nick Bond, a climate scientist at the UW-based Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, a joint research center of the UW and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Bond coined the term “the blob” last June in his monthly newsletter as Washington’s state climatologist. He said the huge patch of water – 1,000 miles in each direction and 300 feet deep – had contributed to Washington’s mild 2014 winter and might signal a warmer summer.

Ten months later, the blob is still off our shores, now squished up against the coast and extending about 1,000 miles offshore from Mexico up through Alaska, with water about 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than normal. Bond says all the models point to it continuing through the end of this year.
The new study explores the blob’s origins. It finds that it relates to a persistent high-pressure ridge that caused a calmer ocean during the past two winters, so less heat was lost to cold air above. The warmer temperatures we see now aren’t due to more heating, but less winter cooling....MORE
See also the Washington Post: California’s drought and the weird warm ‘blob’ in the Pacific that may be fueling it

HT for both and headline from ZeroHedge.

From our May 2014 post "A Very Good Drought Prediction":
...Historic and current AMO readings
Historic and current PDO readings

And from Unisys, the Sea Surface Temp anomalies. Of special note are
1) the warm blob off the Pacific Northwest, that is the PDO measurement area, currently warm but with seriously cold water to its west.
2) the warm spots along the equator west of South America: that's the El Nino 1, 2 region. Watch to see if it connects with the 3.4 region further west.
3) the very warm spot in the Atlantic off Maryland-through-Maine

Current Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Plot