A large and unusually warm mass of water is threatening to disturb the marine ecosystem along the Pacific Coast from Southern California to Alaska, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.
They call it the Northeast Pacific Marine Heatwave of 2019, and if it doesn’t dissipate soon, researchers said it could be as destructive as the infamous “blob” of warm water that caused massive toxic algae blooms along the coast and wreaked havoc on whales, salmon, baby sea lions and other marine life in 2014 and 2015.
“Really, only time will tell if this feature will persist and if it will rival the past event in duration and impact,” said Andrew Leising, a research oceanographer at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla.
Marine heat waves are defined as oceanic events in which the surface temperature of the water is warmer than 90% of past measurements for at least five days in a row.
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