'Warm blob' in Pacific Ocean not caused by climate change, affects U.S. weather

From the University of Washington:

‘Warm blob’ in Pacific Ocean linked to weird weather across the US


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.

“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.

Co-authors on the paper are Meghan Cronin at NOAA in Seattle and a UW affiliate professor of oceanography, Nate Mantua at NOAA in Santa Cruz and Howard Freeland at Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The authors look at how the blob is affecting West Coast marine life. They find fish sightings in unusual places, supporting recent reports that West Coast marine ecosystems are suffering and the food web is being disrupted by warm, less nutrient-rich Pacific Ocean water.

The blob’s influence also extends inland. As air passes over warmer water and reaches the coast it brings more heat and less snow, which the paper shows helped cause current drought conditions in California, Oregon and Washington.

The blob is just one element of a broader pattern in the Pacific Ocean whose influence reaches much further – possibly to include two bone-chilling winters in the Eastern U.S.

A study in the same journal by Dennis Hartmann, a UW professor of atmospheric sciences, looks at the Pacific Ocean’s relationship to the cold 2013-14 winter in the central and eastern United States.

Despite all the talk about the “polar vortex,” Hartmann argues we need to look south to understand why so much cold air went shooting down into Chicago and Boston.

His study shows a decadal-scale pattern in the tropical Pacific Ocean linked with changes in the North Pacific, called the North Pacific mode, that sent atmospheric waves snaking along the globe to bring warm and dry air to the West Coast and very cold, wet air to the central and eastern states.

“Lately this mode seems to have emerged as second to the El Niño Southern Oscillation in terms of driving the long-term variability, especially over North America,” Hartmann said.

In a blog post last month, Hartmann focused on the more recent winter of 2014-15 and argues that, once again, the root cause was surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific.

That pattern, which also causes the blob, seems to have become stronger since about 1980 and lately has elbowed out the Pacific Decadal Oscillation to become second only to El Niño in its influence on global weather patterns.

“It’s an interesting question if that’s just natural variability happening or if there’s something changing about how the Pacific Ocean decadal variability behaves,” Hartmann said. “I don’t think we know the answer. Maybe it will go away quickly and we won’t talk about it anymore, but if it persists for a third year, then we’ll know something really unusual is going on.”

Bond says that although the blob does not seem to be caused by climate change, it has many of the same effects for West Coast weather.

“This is a taste of what the ocean will be like in future decades,” Bond said. “It wasn’t caused by global warming, but it’s producing conditions that we think are going to be more common with global warming.”


For more information, contact Bond at nab3met@uw.edu or 206-526-6459 and Hartmann at dhartm@uw.edu or 206-543-7460.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

129 thoughts on “'Warm blob' in Pacific Ocean not caused by climate change, affects U.S. weather

  1. The Juan de Fuca Ridge coincides closely with the location of this warm “blob” of water … since spreading oceanic crust is a well-documented locus for submarine volcanic and hot-spring activity, this possibility has to be examined.

    • Yes, but the flow of water through the mantle would have to increase by a thousand(?) times to accomplish this blob.

  2. Interesting – a non-warmist explanation for an unusual event. Not sure if the repeated text is intended though 😉

      • 3 years ago today. LOL.
        There is a North Pacific Gyre that picks up the ocean circulation from the Equator, and it takes two years to make its way from the western warm pool region, then up the Asian coast in the beginnings of the Kuroshio Current, then across the north Pacific in the endings of the Kuroshio current, then flows down the west coast of North America in the California Current etc. etc. etc. These people should just know better.

      • Bill, seems that you may be onto something. Traces of the Fukishimo radiation are now being found off the coast of British Columbia. how long ago was that tsunami?

    • lts interesting that the map shows how just much of a effect the weather pattern that causes Arctic blasts over North America is having on the northern Atlantic. lt seems to back up my idea that it was the persistence of such a weather pattern over many years is what drew the Atlantic side of the NH into the ice age.

      • S.C.: silly, the Arctic Ocean was not clear during the ice ages, pretty pictures notwithstanding.

      • Further to S.C.’s comment
        April 9, 2015 at 8:50 pm
        The map which is shown is not correct as it shows vast regions of the ocean that are not covered with ice during glacial maximum which is physically not possible.
        For example, even during the Younger Dryas abrupt cooling event, 11,900 years ago when the temperatures on the Greenland Ice Sheet dropped 15C and the average temperature in Southern England was -3C, the North Atlantic Ocean froze each year to the latitude of Northern Spain.
        The 75% of the Younger Dryas cooling occurred within a decade. The Younger Dryas abrupt cooling period when the planet went from interglacial warm to glacial cold lasted for 1200 years.
        In replied to taxed.
        It is an abrupt drop in the intensity of the geomagnetic field that caused the Younger Dryas 1200 year abrupt cooling period. Insolation changes did not cause the Younger Dryas. It is a ridiculous urban legend that summer insolation at 65N causes the glacial interglacial cycle there are 12 paradoxes associated with the silly theory. Regardless summer insolation at 65N was past maximum 11,900 years ago and is now the same as glacial maximum. It is also an urban legend that stoppage of the North Atlantic drift current is physically capable of cooling the planet from interglacial warm to glacial cold with 75% of the cooling occurring in less than a decade. Simulation runs indicate a complete stoppage of the North Atlantic drift current would result in European winter cooling of a few degrees Celsius.
        Estimates for the start of the Younger Dryas all demonstrate a strong and rapid rise of C14 (Cosmogenic isotope that increases when there is decreased solar activity and/or a massive reduction in the geomagnetic field increased galactic cosmic rays GCR to strike and interact with the atmosphere causing increased cloud cover.) This change is the largest increase of atmospheric C14 known from the late glacial period and Holocene records.
        Is the Gulf Stream responsible for Europe’s mild winters? By Seager et al.

        Response to Comment on “Are there connections between Earth’s magnetic field and climate?, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 253, 328–339, 2007” by Bard, E., and Delaygue, M., Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., in press, 2007
        Also, we wish to recall that evidence of a correlation between archeomagnetic jerks and cooling events (in a region extending from the eastern North Atlantic to the Middle East) now covers a period of 5 millenia and involves 10 events (see f.i. Figure 1 of Gallet and Genevey, 2007). The climatic record uses a combination of results from Bond et al (2001), history of Swiss glaciers (Holzhauser et al, 2005) and historical accounts reviewed by Le Roy Ladurie (2004). Recent high-resolution paleomagnetic records (e.g. Snowball and Sandgren, 2004; St-Onge et al., 2003) and global geomagnetic field modeling (Korte and Constable, 2006) support the idea that part of the centennial-scale fluctuations in 14C production may have been influenced by previously unmodeled rapid dipole field variations. In any case, the relationship between climate, the Sun and the geomagnetic field could be more complex than previously imagined. And the previous points allow the possibility for some connection between the geomagnetic field and climate over these time scales.

      • William Astley no l don’t think the Gulf stream keeps europe mild, that’s mostly down to the warm air coming up from the mid Atlantic. But the North Atlantic Drift does keep the european waters mostly ice free. So ice sheets forming over North America would have sent a lot of cold air flowing over the northern Atlantic. Which along with a more powerful jet stream would have taken a lot of heat out of the North Atlantic Drift. So Europe would have lost a lot of the benefit it gains from the North Atlantic Drift to keep its shores ice free. This in turn with colder air coming across the Atlantic would in time lead to major climate cooling and growing sea ice around the European shores.

      • Taxed, I will say this much. Your idea is as good as the ones that are in reply to it. I don’t think anyone that reads this column was alive during the little ice age, or the medieval warm period or the last ice age or at any time, actually prior to, say 100 years ago. Yet so many speak as if they KNOW exactly what past climate was. Many are “scientists” that know from their training that what they “know” is conjecture based on evidence that appears to support certain premises. A proxy is a proxy, it is not an instrument, but it is treated as if it empirical data from an instrument. A lot of good assumptions can be made based on the proxy information, but every single scientist knows that they are assumptions, yet they act like they are carved in stone truths. That is part of the problem with the AGW BS, they treat their models as if they are the truth. No one knows jack for a certainly prior to the age of instrumental data – that, by the way is the data that seems to be trusted the least since it is constantly being “adjusted” to modern assumptions – yet everything that comes out of their mouths seems to be “you’re wrong because it was this way, not that way.” Sorry, I accept that there is possibility in what they say, and you can make reasonable projections from it, but there is no way of saying “this is the way it was 50,000 years ago” unless they lived then and can answer from first hand experience. Once upon a time scientists remembered that there is nothing – nothing – that is set in stone, but that was in the days before specialties, and the one specialty that all seem to have is “I KNOW WHAT I SAY IS TRUTH.”

    • It was 11 of March 2011.
      Intensity of the earthquake may have a longer term effect on the mixing of cold and warm currents i.e. Kuroshio-Oyashio and Alaskan currents system.
      In wikipedia list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_earthquakes_in_Japan of M8+ earthquakes are at
      01 September 1, 1923 M8.3
      March 2, 1933 M8.4 Major drought 1934
      December 20, 1946 M8.1
      March 4, 1952 M8.1 Major drought 1953-4
      May 16, 1968 M8.2
      September 25, 2003 M8.3
      March 11, 2011 M9.0 Major drought 2012
      Month of March (spring equinox time) Japan’s major earthquake could have a high probability of causing major drought in the USA (3 of 7 all in March). Two September quakes (autumn equinox) were followed by minor droughts, but minor droughts are regular occurrence, so no correlation is established.
      Speculative ?

      • Hello Vukcevic, I found myself also wondering about the potential for ocean changes from some of these very large quakes over the last 12 years. The deadly Sumatran Christmas quake for one example must have created quite a pulse that would have shifted the very warm Indian Ocean waters out into the Pacific and south towards Antarctica. What affect might that have had?

    • warm blob, green blob. warm green blob. i wonder if the ‘blob’ imagery comes to us from the cagw cultist propaganda department?

  3. And as I’ve noted in numerous posts, the blob (a natural occurrence) was the primary factor in 2014’s record high, or near record high, global surface temperatures.

    • Bob, elsewhere I have seen people writing that this is going to make man are global warming increase. To me, this analysis shows that natural variability is swamping manmade variability. Do you agree?

      • I hope Bob replies. I am not a physicist but it seems to me you are spot on kelly. if air in each of two identical balloons (with the temp of one maintained at 20 deg C and the other at 30 deg C) were quickly mixed, this would result in a mixed air temperature of 25 deg C NOT 50 deg C.

        • Andrew Richards

          if air in each of two identical balloons (with the temp of one maintained at 20 deg C and the other at 30 deg C) were quickly mixed, this would result in a mixed air temperature of 25 deg C NOT 50 deg C.

          You are making too many assumptions there.
          If both balloons have equal internal volume AND are at exactly equal pressures of exactly equal air compositions (same original gas mixture and humidity levels); then, prior to mixing, the the higher temperature balloon must have fewer molecules within it (lower mass) since its molecules are at a higher temperature (greater velocity of each molecule).
          PV = nRT, remember?
          (T increases, therefore n must decrease if PV_hot = PV_cold
          But, once mixed – we assume into a second volume of 2xV, the total energy of the two will be mixed. But N_cold is still greater than N_hot, even at their final equilibrium temperature.
          If this were a real-world example, the two balloons will be constantly exchanging heat with the environment (either one loosing heat, one gaining heat, or both losing heat. ) There are additional thermal and volumetric losses in the valves and piping needed to connect the two.
          Ever notice that “theoretical, flat-earth-average-disk” models only run in a computer or as text questions are much easier than actually doing experiments in the real world? /sarcasm

    • Thanks, Bob — The version of the above article I saw quoted the researchers as claiming that warm north pacific temperatures produced the droughts. It seems to me that a warm ocean will increase the water vapor content and therefore increase the precipitation near the ‘warm blob’. So is it the shift north of the warm water that produces cooler temperatures in the equatorial regions, lowering the H20 in the air available to California. I’d appreciate your comments.

  4. Bond could not have coined the term “the blob” because I first heard of it in the 1950’s.

  5. Is it clear that the blobs hot or cold are symptoms or drivers of climatic outcomes.
    By way of example when its hot in central US that is driven by weather not the cause of hot weather.
    If there is one thing that I have noticed over the last years its blocking highs those blobs could be little more than driven water against a continent.

  6. So. I need to fund climate warming because someone thinks this:
    “This is a taste of what the ocean will be like in future decades,” Bond said. “It wasn’t caused by global warming, but it’s producing conditions that we think are going to be more common with global warming.”
    Dear Lord, save me from what people “think”.

    • Paumela
      Exactly my thought. This is a way of continuing the “we are all going to fry, so give up your liberty and money so we (the U.N. agencies) can fix this for you” without having to defend the CO2 meme.

    • No one actually knows what instigated glacial advances, for sure; your guess of a few weeks ago, the blocking pattern, seems as good as any. Once such an advance starts, everyone will think the cause is obvious.
      Temperatures may have fallen noticeably across much of the globe, but the really catastrophic changes seemed to have been confined to North America and extreme northwest Europe, with the formation of that huge continental ice sheet. See SC’s picture.
      Without guessing or using models, where have the terminal moraines been left? Examining closely topographic maps, the original channel of the Missouri River seems to have turned north somewhere just west of Culbertson MT and the original Ohio River seems to have flowed toward Lake Erie and into the St Lawrence Basin. A terminal moraine seems to run just north of these rivers, including just east of the Mississippi River between St Louis MO and Cairo IL. Further east, Long Island and Sable Island seem to be where the moraines are.
      Appling the Koppen Classification System, which usually is a decent approximation of the relationship between conditions, also plant life, and annual temperatures and precipitation, the following seems to be roughly true. The furthest extent of a continental ice sheet seems to be where the average temperature of the warmest month is 0 degrees C. That would include, at the furthest extent of the ice sheet, the average July temperatures of St Louis, Cairo IL, Cincinnati OH, Pittsburgh PA and NYC; Halifax was apparently colder. The other months of the year were apparently colder at these locations at subtropical latitudes. Such conditions occurring for long periods of time seems to be unusual, even catastrophic.

  7. “This is a taste of what the ocean will be like in future decades,” Bond said. “It wasn’t caused by global warming, but it’s producing conditions that we think are going to be more common with global warming.”
    So, now the ocean is the canary ?, but only maybe ?
    Who are the “we” of which you speak ?

  8. , but if it persists for a third year, then we’ll know something really unusual is going on.”……
    ….no, you won’t

  9. It looks like the blob of warm water that I believe I noticed off the Asian coast 3 or 4 years ago that then moved north to the Russian coast/NW Pacific and then about a year or 2 ago continued its clockwise rotation around the Pacific to the Alaskan coast where it’s spreading along the North American coast back towards the equator.

    • This is what I remember seeing also. I’m curious what it has to do with that 2011 earthquake/tsunami.

  10. The first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Continents Pulling Apart is Happening. We have only months to live.

    • Well, I guess I don’t have to worry about my taxes, then.
      I’m off for some marshmallows instead.

  11. It’s interesting that this 300 million cubic MILE “blob” of warm ocean water isn’t generating more precipitation along the US West Coast given the increased ocean evaporation that must be occurring…
    I hope this blob brings some much needed rain to California soon because it’s getting crazy (well, even crazier than usual) in California with government officials run amok with new water rationing mandates and penalties.

  12. Haven’t we known about the Pacific-North American (PNA) pattern for at least 50 years? It seemed like a pretty normal PNA pattern in the U.S. this winter, akin to those in the 60s and 70s, albeit pronounced temporally. I don’t believe this is some new undiscovered pattern. It would be better, in my mind, to study why patterns (especially blocking patterns) set up for extended periods, from months to interannually. Also, the comment from one author about this being a taste of what’s to come in succeeding decades is just ridiculous. These patterns have been forming and breaking down for millions of years…why would slight natural warming of a degree C or 2 over the past century (or even man-made, if you believe in that voodoo) cause such oceanic warming? Better to look at solar effects on – and interactions with – upper atmospheric patterns, which cascade down to lower levels and possibly to the oceans. I will still point out my 3-solar cycle bundling theory, two of which comprise the quasi-70 yr temperature (and northeast U.S. winter activity) cycle. This “L-P cycle” (the “L” is for David Ludlum) modulates the stronger 200 yr cycle, which modulates the larger 800 yr (some say 1000 yr) cycle. Putting them all together shows that we will remain plateaued or start trending down slightly in global temperature over the next 35 years, down slightly more in the 35 years after that, then drop noticeably after 2080 to 2120 as the negative parts of each of the 3 cycles begin phasing. After that, we should be descending into the next LIA…from 2250 to 2650 or so. Too bad I won’t be around to verify my forecast!

  13. There was a similar situation in the late 1950’s, wherein there was a “warm” spike in the PDO, after the PDO shifted to a long term “cold” trend. In the 1950’s the “warm blob” fell apart in the third year, and the PDO reverted to its long-term “cold” phase.
    Records are poor, but there may also have been a similar situation between 1917-1919.
    The warmth fuels low pressure off the west coast, which builds a ridge of high pressure from California up towards eastern Alaska. California gets drought, and Alaska gets warmth, but the cold air plunges south to the east of the ridge of high pressure, and eastern North America gets very cold winters, like the last two.
    I am watching the Atlantic carefully. All the cold air pouring off eastern North America is seeming to chill the Gulf Stream, and the AMO looks like it is shifting towards its “cold” phase.
    My guess is that we are at a kindergarten level, when it comes to understanding how these Pacific and Atlantic patterns interact, but the scientists who are carefully observing (and not getting suckered into the Global Warming hoopla) are pioneers on the frontier of a greater understanding.

      • I did forget. Thanks for reminding me of your timely post. It is interesting how Portland Oregon had record warmth in 1934 as Portland Maine had record cold.
        Someone who has time ought study how the Atlantic responded to years when there was a “ridiculously resistant ridge.”
        The past winter was the worst I can ever remember here in New Hampshire, in terms of there being deep powder snow without any crust ever forming on top of it. Even with snowshoes I sank nearly a foot. Watching my dog wallow through it made me wonder about the coyotes and foxes. I think a lot didn’t make it, for I can see few signs of them out in the woods, so far this spring.
        …if you can call this dank, cold weather spring!

  14. Want to get this water to cool? Let the wind blow, and let the overturning commence. When I look at SST anomaly maps and see warmth, I at least sometimes think of anomalously calm winds. Prevailing north winds typically cause a lot of overturning along the U.S. West Coast. Wonder what’s going on with those of late?

  15. All I know is the The Warm Blob ruined my winter surfing season here on the northern Oregon coast. We surfers want the offshore winds that are found on cold, clear days. All we’ve had is warm onshore winds day after week after month 🙁
    By the way, I wonder if the starfish die-off, apparently caused by a virus, is in any way related to the relatively warm water.

    • All I know is the The Warm Blob ruined my winter surfing season here on the northern Oregon coast
      I disagree. Here in WA, we had an outstanding winter season on the coast, and the warmth meant I only had to wear gloves on a few days. New Years Day, for example, I surfed 6 hours straight.
      By the way, I wonder if the starfish die-off, apparently caused by a virus
      Not sure. I saw some live starfish recently in Grays Harbor, so maybe they are staging a comeback.

  16. As air passes over warm water does it not get charged with water vapor? And since the west coast has parallel and continuous mountain ranges shouldn’t that additional vapor produce lots of precipitation of some type? This smells like a just so argument.

  17. The warm blob is due to reduced west to east wind speeds. The warm blob will be replaced by a cold blob when the mechanism that is inhibiting the solar modulation of planetary clouds abates (wind speed will pick up, as has already occurred in the Atlantic where there is now record high jet stream velocity in the winter and there will be more low level clouds). The inhibiting mechanism has started to abate in other regions of the planet (record sea ice in the Antarctic all months of the year, recover of Arctic sea ice, cooling of the Greenland Ice Sheet and increased snowfall) however the relax time is slower in North America due to the impedance of the Northern America continent crust.
    There is roughly a tenfold increase in dust deposited on the Greenland Ice Sheet when there is a Dangaard-Oeschger cooling cycle and a hundred times increase when there is a Heinrich cycle. The dust particles are carried from Mongolia. Both the D-O events and the Heinrich events correlate with solar cycle changes.
    Solar observations continue to support the assertion the solar cycle has been interrupted. We will first experience a D-O cooling cycle if I understand what is happening to the sun and the mechanisms.
    The peculiar solar cycle 24 – where do we stand?

    The peculiar solar cycle 24 – where do we stand?
    Solar cycle 24 has been very weak so far. It was preceded by an extremely quiet and long solar minimum. Data from the solar interior, the solar surface and the heliosphere all show that cycle 24 began from an unusual minimum and is unlike the cycles that preceded it. We begin this review of where solar cycle 24 stands today with a look at the antecedents of this cycle, and examine why the minimum preceding the cycle is considered peculiar (§ 2). We then examine in § 3 whether we missed early signs that the cycle could be unusual. § 4 describes where cycle 24 is at today.


    Surging Jet-Stream Winds Hinder U.S.-Bound Flights From Europe
    Stronger westerly headwinds for U.S.-bound flights are stretching out travel times, forcing some planes to stop for refueling. Trips such as London to New York, a busy business route, are running almost eight hours — 45 minutes longer than voyages in September.
    Two Philadelphia-bound American Airlines flights, one from Brussels and the other from Amsterdam, had to touch down on Jan. 11 to refuel in Bangor, Maine, said Scott Ramsay, the carrier’s managing director of its integrated operations center. The journey from Brussels took 9 hours and 16 minutes, about an hour more than three months earlier, according to industry data tracker FlightAware.
    Higher Costs
    Flights across the Atlantic to eastern U.S. cities in December 2013 averaged 19 minutes later than a year earlier, according to industry data tracker MasFlight.com. Travel times in December 2014 were similar to those in 2013, MasFlight’s data from more than 1,300 flights a year showed.
    With the threat of increasingly strong headwinds every winter, airlines face higher costs on those westbound flights with the use of extra fuel and the crew’s time.
    “When you were planning to fly non-stop, stopping for fuel costs money,” said George Hamlin, president of Hamlin Transportation Consulting, who has more than 40 years of experience in commercial aviation and aerospace.

    • William its the fact that this weather pattern powers up the jet stream is what leads to the rapid cooling of the northern Atlantic. Because of the powerful storms and strong winds it causes which sucks heat out of the ocean at a quicker rate.

      • The Ghost of Big Jim Cooley no its not the AMO as we know it because that changes between warm and cold too often. If anything l would say the AMO helps to keep us out of an ice age because its keeps switching between warm and cold. No what am saying what happens. Is that when this Arctic blast weather pattern over North America becomes the dominant weather pattern over many years. lts that what risks leading the NH into a ice age (at least the Atlantic side).

      • Yes and there will be an increase in wind speed over the Pacific ocean and an increase in cloud cover. The warm blob in the Pacific Ocean along the North American coast is a transient condition caused by the solar change.
        The warm blob, sudden increase in wind speeds over Atlantic and significant cooling over the Greenland Ice sheet and North Atlantic Ocean is observational evidence of a forcing change. Due to the cooling there is the start of significant ocean effect snow on the east coast of the Canada and the US. PEI the small Canada province received 5 meters (197 inches, 16 feet) of snow winter 2014/2015. That is the highest amount of snow on record and breaks the recent 2013/2014 record.

  18. This weather pattern only becomes a worry if it hangs around too long.
    Because as l have suggested over the last week or two its when this pattern gets “stuck” over many years it leads to climate cooling over the Atlantic side of the NH. The reason been that it sets off a chain of events where huge pools of cold air over North America flow across the northern Atlantic which in turn cools down the northern Atlantic. Which then reduces the amount of warm air reaching Europe, which then leads to climate cooling in Europe. lts just such chain of events should it happen over a enough years is what l believe lead the Atlantic side of the NH into the last ice age.

  19. “This is a taste of what the ocean will be like in future decades,” Bond said. “It wasn’t caused by global warming, but it’s producing conditions that we think are going to be more common with global warming.”

    Have no idea what the point of this statement is, other than to get global warming mentioned. Is it just lazy speculation, the results of a crystal ball that can make predictions decades, centuries into the future, or just a phrase required to keep the funding going. It is a non-nonsensical statement; A is not caused by B but B we think causes A. Insert anything in place of “global warming” and it makes just as much sense.
    “This is a taste of what the ocean will be like in future decades. It wasn’t caused by unhappy unicorns, but it’s producing conditions that we think are going to be more common with unhappy unicorns.

    • Has anyone counted the number of submarine volcanoes and hot springs? The oceanic rift zone aggregate some 46,000 km in length.

  20. Does this result in more heat loss from the ocean therebye ultimately cooling the ocean more??

    • Alf yes he weather pattern has a rapid cooling effect on the Atlantic.
      Because when it drives aload of cold air down across North America it means you have a large pool of cold further to the south which then meets up with the warm air down there. lts this what makes the jet stream stronger which then powers up the Atlantic storms and winds. So leading to the rapid cooling of the Atlantic.

    • We may be distantly related, Russ.
      The Steeles came out west back in the frontier days (in Arizona, that was until the early 1920’s!), my parents gave one of my brothers ‘Steele’ as a middle name. All our relations last names were our own middle names.

  21. What’s the names of the papers?
    Also, they said the blob was caused by reduced cooling, but what is the origin? A kelvin wave that was trapped along the coast or warm water due to La Nina and higher trade winds delivered via the Kuroshio ?

      • The first part of winter 2008-2009 has been characterized
        by a stable and cold polar vortex which allowed
        the persistent formation of PSC particles. In
        mid-January of 2009, however, the most intense sudden
        stratospheric warming (SSW) ever observed occurred
        [Manney et al. 2009, Di Biagio et al. 2010]. SSWs strongly
        affect the dynamics and thermal structure of the Arctic
        stratosphere causing the breakdown of the eastward
        winter circulation, the build up of a westward circulation,
        and the reversal of the latitudinal temperature
        gradient. As the 2009 SSW developed, the stratopause
        lowered, the mean zonal circulation reversed, and ultimately
        the polar vortex in the lower stratosphere split
        in two (see Figure 12).
        Figure 13 shows the lidar backscatter ratio (both
        parallel and cross polarized components) and the depolarization
        ratio on January 17 and 18, when the lidar
        detected a PSC layer. The layer extended between 16
        and 23 km altitude on January 17 and then it moved to
        slightly lower altitudes (16-20 km) on January 18. The
        observed PSCs can be classified as type Ia due to their
        low backscatter ratio and moderate depolarization values
        [e.g., Browell et al. 1990, Toon et al. 1990]. This indicates
        that their particles are liquid and composed of
        nitric acid trihydrate (NAT), as also suggested by the
        temperature values at the altitudes of the observed PSC
        layer (not shown) which are below the NAT threshold.
        Lidar and GBMS measurements at Thule observed
        the occurrence of the major SSW, sampling air inside
        the polar vortex at first and following the propagation
        of the SSW down to the lower stratosphere afterwards.
        The contour plots in Figures 14, 15, and 16 show the
        changes of the atmospheric chemical composition over
        Thule and temperature associated with the SSW. Figure
        14 shows a sudden increase in N2O mixing ratio
        (mr) which occurred on January 24 at around 35 km altitude
        and over the whole stratosphere between days
        26 and 28. At higher levels, the vortex splitting and the
        vortex edge transit over Thule was marked by a rapid
        decrease in CO mr. CO data (not shown) indicate that
        in the upper stratosphere (45-50 km) the vortex broke
        up over Thule on January 19-20.

      • Ignacy, Interesting. Are you aware that all atmospheric gases are diamagnetic (pushed away from a strong field) except oxygen which is paramagnetic (weakly attracted to a strong magnetic field)? Could this be a (small) factor? I realize the forces are small and wind would continually act to mix the gases.

  22. “The blob’s influence also extends inland. As air passes over warmer water and reaches the coast it brings more heat and less snow,”
    This type of warming is what almost all of the warming in the land surface temperature data set is, when you look at the derivative of temp at regional levels.

      • I’ve looked at the temperature change per day for each station, so degrees F per day. Since most data sets collected have as a minimum of Min and Max, you can then look at how thousands of station are changing daily. In this case I think yesterday’s rising temp compared to last nights falling temps are appropriate, and what I was referring to.
        Here is the GSoD summary of the daily change averaged over a single year. The year to year differences are not directly comparable, as the stations each year changes some, but they these are only stations that have a full year of sample, to the rise and fall are directly comparable, and represents the energy balance at the surface where we have stations.

        1940	15.71097157	15.6830136	0.027957973	40450
        1941	15.51280724	15.52291128	-0.010104032	37104
        1942	17.19708086	17.18970456	0.007376309	50974
        1943	18.49100199	18.49760266	-0.006600669	106368
        1944	18.09759878	18.09670445	0.000894331	171413
        1945	17.1321793	17.12947072	0.002708585	109356
        1946	16.5656968	16.58263341	-0.016936611	75818
        1947	17.02919548	17.01359006	0.015605421	104547
        1948	18.61353831	18.62331222	-0.009773913	196738
        1949	18.88868122	18.87702793	0.011653284	274738
        1950	18.59500561	18.59388211	0.001123508	294791
        1951	18.50607786	18.48544244	0.020635422	301060
        1952	18.71132731	18.72543796	-0.014110651	366071
        1953	18.42814736	18.43695155	-0.008804188	380160
        1954	17.9957428	17.98496993	0.010772869	396199
        1955	17.42433676	17.43215448	-0.007817724	361934
        1956	17.72695923	17.71825583	0.0087034	355229
        1957	17.5963675	17.62517297	-0.028805471	396449
        1958	17.92289163	17.91920132	0.003690311	497221
        1959	17.95581365	17.95448641	0.001327244	451085
        1960	17.9869764	18.01315115	-0.026174748	508024
        1961	18.03388368	18.03508739	-0.001203715	511500
        1962	18.22151176	18.22907951	-0.007567744	514658
        1963	18.34429315	18.33326835	0.011024797	507837
        1964	18.15873062	18.15302857	0.005702056	485246
        1965	17.3675503	17.35766173	0.009888569	335812
        1966	17.50450441	17.52169516	-0.017190748	393037
        1967	17.36575907	17.3679094	-0.002150335	397752
        1968	17.55711991	17.5692133	-0.012093387	362322
        1969	17.40666311	17.40243898	0.004224134	416322
        1970	18.07845446	18.08878884	-0.010334386	486444
        1971	17.41842199	17.41011975	0.008302247	176121
        1972	17.24428991	17.23699402	0.007295899	172782
        1973	18.29953951	18.30869743	-0.009157925	564178
        1974	18.01006162	18.01329035	-0.003228731	805208
        1975	18.61680029	18.63771804	-0.020917758	792671
        1976	18.60309034	18.64140958	-0.038319245	1111465
        1977	18.55697684	18.53033801	0.026638833	860841
        1978	18.23385269	18.25044722	-0.016594529	1093975
        1979	18.32688642	18.31058265	0.016303773	1028032
        1980	18.25960534	18.27724383	-0.017638483	1129689
        1981	18.31705388	18.3222249	-0.005171018	1099474
        1982	17.62293309	17.63431024	-0.011377151	1055440
        1983	17.42864046	17.4414735	-0.012833048	1166200
        1984	17.37740432	17.38125902	-0.003854703	1220950
        1985	17.48307532	17.48756305	-0.004487731	1185677
        1986	17.58500848	17.58717123	-0.002162743	1254703
        1987	17.4050167	17.40805318	-0.003036479	1235016
        1988	17.77354186	17.78007015	-0.006528295	1365931
        1989	17.55334589	17.5506176	0.002728288	1265629
        1990	17.46665232	17.47565155	-0.008999233	1247673
        1991	16.8231994	16.83149181	-0.008292409	1171457
        1992	17.02449214	17.03832609	-0.01383395	1304978
        1993	17.05782469	17.06297818	-0.005153482	1277117
        1994	17.68736749	17.67993302	0.007434471	1298317
        1995	17.33133396	17.33992032	-0.008586358	1293354
        1996	16.91674692	16.9202606	-0.003513682	1318816
        1997	17.21316377	17.20476681	0.008396956	1321324
        1998	17.43171297	17.45367591	-0.021962934	1169739
        1999	17.78586036	17.80618396	-0.020323599	1147533
        2000	18.01024792	18.04020913	-0.029961211	1582673
        2001	18.47831326	18.48061249	-0.002299226	1455055
        2002	18.20320992	18.21497998	-0.011770051	1534148
        2003	18.34413085	18.3384575	0.005673355	1562356
        2004	18.25971399	18.26013423	-0.000420242	1769217
        2005	17.95410103	17.95819944	-0.004098412	1928381
        2006	18.31533458	18.3236668	-0.008332224	2058850
        2007	18.26982812	18.28168462	-0.011856501	2070282
        2008	18.23365477	18.24080168	-0.007146907	2324740
        2009	17.87566685	17.88050967	-0.004842814	2401806
        2010	17.88415593	17.88582125	-0.001665325	2506477
        2011	18.00993136	18.012606	-0.002674635	2529280
        2012	18.42713328	18.44643677	-0.019303489	2632177
        2013	18.36008308	18.36336279	-0.00327971	2488421
        The year 9999 is a average of all years.
        9999	17.80549016	17.80964193	-0.004151764	69864812

        Why this is relevant is you can see that most years show it cooled more at night that it warmed the prior day, this would imply that temps are falling, noticeably falling since the 50’s. And this always confused me, I know these numbers represents the very best analysis of the data collected because I don’t do anything to them. But what I recently realized is that this heat accumulates in the tropics, and it’s stored as water vapor, which is then transported over land by the atm, where it cools off, this data shows exactly this, and this articles validates the exact same process.
        So, when we have big swings in the ocean oscillations, that has “warm” spots in a new place, the warm air coming off those warm spots impact land surface temps, I think this change was enhanced in the surface data by using a GHG “surface” model that is used to aid infilling process and all of a sudden a simple movement of warm water becomes a global AGW crisis.
        [Inserted “pre” and “/pre” in html to display the table in fixed font format and spacing. .mod]

    • You missed the next bit following “and less snow”; namely “… helped cause current drought conditions …
      There is simply less precipitation when the winds do not blow as to push water vapor over the mountains. The wording in the paper implies there ought to be more rain and less snow. That would be a timing issue. When winds do not blow across the region (roughly west to east) not much happens except the character of the air in place (in situ) changes.

      • California has experienced two ‘mega-droughts’ over the last millennium or so (Wikipedia): 850 AD – 1090 AD (240 years) and 1140 AD – 1320 AD (180 years). This spread coincides with the Mediaeval Warm Period. Then there is the 800 year lag between warming and rising CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere that have been evident in recent times.

  23. Mayhem. Now, that’s a word which should only be used in reference to a teenager’s bedroom

  24. The warm blob should be affecting west coast temperatures only. The East US cold is because the series of lows east of Svalbard turn counter-clockwise and so drag cold Siberian air across the pole down into central Canada and points onwards. It’s been doing that for the past 2 winters.

    • Steve Hare in 1997 discovered the Pacific Decadal Oscillation because he was studying the pattern of salmon catches in the Pacific, and he noticed that the catches had a decadal pattern to them. The pattern in 1997 was seen to be nearing the end of one of the decadal phases, which became known as “regimes”. THAT phase then was COLD. It was projected early in the 2000s that the warm phase would look (as I took it) pretty much like what that map is showing. So my reaction to this is, “Yeah, so what is new in what they are saying?”
      This is just the PDO and one of its particulars. BIG F-ING DEAL.
      This was a waste of a journal’s space and a waste of WUWT’s time.

      • What we are seeing is not in line with the fish. No Salmon are groovin’ today. Yet nobody ever said there were NO Niño episodes during a cold PDO. Heck, one can see Niño episodes begin and then falter during a Niña YEAR.
        We don’t know Jack. We can’t even ignore the pabulum published by the one true path because every bit of evidence is a bit we don’t have, no matter how badly they misconstrue it.

      • yes.
        contrary specialists conferencing, isolated.
        lost in ever new narratives spurred by discrete, ‘singular’ events – sort of reapeatedly, common noticed!?
        sure ground for the layman:
        stay agnostic. Hans
        / let the gods sort them out.
        no one knows them gods personally, but every tourist photographs the gold in theyr temples. /

  25. It’s warm because of all the Fukushima radiation that’s building up along the West Coast.
    (Not sure if I should add “sarc” tags because I’m not sure if I’m being sarcastic)

  26. You needed a press release for this??? Joe D and I based our winter outlook in 13-14 on the winters of 17-18 and 93-94 which had almost identical “warm blob” I dont get how universities research something private sector points out over a year before, in many cases years before, makes an applicable forecast based on it, and then the big press release comes from them. Most of you saw what we had in 13-14 and this year. IN 2011 I CUT A VIDEO explaining how a series of 3 major winters in a row would evolve in these seasons. I dont think by any means it was perfect, but it sure as heck warned people to look out.
    I dont think I should get any press release, just smiling clients. But not all research is being done in universities and confirming what everyone that actually makes a living out of this knows, that this is a perfectly natural event with similar events before producing similar events now is not major news. In fact it shows exactly how absurd this AGW argument has gotten, that something like this needs an article like this

    • Yes, I agree with this post. Also, something like this is found and called “weather” or “the blob” and it’s big news because the media has conditioned everyone to think that all weather/climate is now human caused. At least anything “extraordinary”. Now someone comes along and calls it natural. But, Joe D and Joe B do great work on teleconnections and LRF. They are correct, not all the good research is being done in the Universities, and I’m a university guy. I listen when they say something, they’ve been at it as least as long as I. Based on Joe’s discussion it’s not even clear we’re leaving the negative PDO phase. 17-18 occurred in a long term negative, and 93-94 occurred after a brief negative in an overall positive. Time will tell if we’re going back to PDO +. Yes, this is not news.

    • I agree 100%. The AGW argument has conditioned everyone to think all weather/climate, at least extraordinary events are somehow human caused. So when someone comes along as sys it’s natural it’s a media event. Also, there is good work (Joe D and Joe B) on teleconnections and LRF outside the Universities, and I’m on the inside. I pay attention when these guys say something. They do good research. They’ve been right quite a bit!

  27. Ozone is a greenhouse gas that is created by Solar EUV. When there are extreme Solar EUV events, the Ozone layer in the troposphere, stratosphere can warm enough to expand. This is monitored by NASA, and warning messages are sent to satellite operators to move their satellites to prevent atmospheric drag. Less Solar EUV and we get Ozone holes. Ozone holes are like heat openings directly to space.
    Solar EUV also directly [through various absorption re-radiation processes] warms the Oceans at the Equator. Even though this was not a large Solar Cycle, but since the Oceans were already warm; some regions warmed more, and the “blob” moved north. As previously stated it take about 3 years for the ocean waters to circulate.
    Now we are entering a time period of less Solar Activity. Solar EUV will be at minimum levels for at least 10 years. Watch the ocean temperatures and the size of the Ozone holes as predecessors of “Global Temperature”.

  28. The “warm” blob isn’t actually warm, just warmer than average. An unprotected person will still get hypothermia immersed in it in a short time.

  29. My thoughts are the warm blob has been responsible in large are part for the ridge pattern in the Western U.S.A versus the trough pattern in the Eastern U.S.A and I do not see this pattern breaking down overall until the warm blob dissipates, although it will wax and wane and shift from time to time as it is presently doing but it will most likely establish itself once again going forward as has been the case for the past two years.
    The warm blog is a reflection of the sea surface temperature structure of the Pacific Ocean most likely and could persist going forward, since I think ENSO will be near neutral territory overall rather then an extreme El Nino or La Nina condition going forward. In other words the basic Pacific Ocean temperature pattern should stay as is for at least the next several months.

  30. I can see how the blob can influence west coast N.America, but a 2 million sq km pool of warm water with a number of matching pools of cold water on a 500 million sq km globe seems a stretch. How is it going to warm the rest of the world when it can’t reach across the continent to warm the winter on the east side? I think this idea and the ENSO itself may even need some rethinking in a quantitative fashion.

    • Gary Pearse commented

      I can see how the blob can influence west coast N.America, but a 2 million sq km pool of warm water with a number of matching pools of cold water on a 500 million sq km globe seems a stretch. How is it going to warm the rest of the world when it can’t reach across the continent to warm the winter on the east side? I think this idea and the ENSO itself may even need some rethinking in a quantitative fashion.

      The way I see it is it sets an obstacle to the jet stream, that is already on the edge between laminar and turbulent flow, just like watching the smoke rise from a cigarette, it switches between laminar and turbulent. So this warm spot is one obstacle, the Atlantic (and the rest of the surface making the “polar loop” will have it’s own obstacles, it can be as simple as the different in SST and Land temps, but they act on the path, which acts on the weather systems, which if long enough lasting show up in climate.

  31. From what I can see, “the blob” emerged and began forming immediately following the deep cold hit in March 2013.

  32. Yeah, the warmist cheerleaders are trying to capitalize on this big time. While on the other side of their mouths, they criticize skeptics for joking when the weather is cooler than average (which happens to be about 50% of the time…). Shameless two-faced bastards!

  33. Soon we shall see. Solar activity drops significantly. Appears few of sunspots. We’ll see how winter will be in the southern hemisphere.

  34. That is an interesting blob, quite large and almost symmetrical too. Its origin is clearly in the area of the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool as the blue trace it left behind itself proves. At the moment, the warm pool itself is bereft of warmth which very likely resides in the blob. The trace of the blob follows the expected path of the westerlies that clearly have provided the motive force across the ocean. The trace is blue, indicating cold water. As the blob crossed the ocean. water level behind it dropped, and cold water from below welled up to fill the vacuum behind it. At this moment the blob is pushing up against the coast, still under the influence of the westerlies. To unravel its history we would have to track back its past motions as well as the past motions of the air masses that have influenced it. Satellite records undoubtedly exist but we have not been told anything about it. Give it two or three years to cross the ocean and start looking near the intersection of the two oceans for any unusual happenings there.

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