The "blob" in the Pacific turns from warm to cold – and it's even bigger

Thanks to Bob Tisdale, we’ve covered the evolution, peak, and demise of the sea surface temperature phenomenon labeled as “The Blob” in the North Pacific for awhile now. According to Wikipedia:

The Blob is the name given to a large mass of relatively warm water in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of North America. It was first detected in late 2013 and continued to spread throughout 2014 and 2015.[1][2]

Sea surface temperature indicates the blob persists into 2016.[3] This warm water mass is unusual in ocean conditions and is considered to have a role in the formation of the unusual weather conditions felt in the Pacific Coast.

The Blob was first detected in the autumn of 2013 and the early months of 2014 by Nicholas Bond of the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean of the University of Washington, and his colleagues, when a large circular body of sea-water did not cool as expected and remained much warmer than the average normal temperatures for that location and season.[5]

Bond, who is the State Climatologist for Washington, coined the term “The Blob”, with the term first appearing in an article in the monthly newsletter of the Office of the Washington State Climatologist for June 2014.[6]

Well, “The Blob” as warmists knew it, is no more. Compare these two panels of sea-surface temperature:


Top panel: November 28th, 2016 Source here

Bottom Panel July 13th, 2015 Source here

Also note the strong La Niña pattern in blue across the Pacific equatorial region in the top panel, along with the many other areas of below normal SST. Since SST tends to drive global air temperatures, it looks like 2017 might be a colder year globally if this keeps up.


142 thoughts on “The "blob" in the Pacific turns from warm to cold – and it's even bigger

  1. Come on Monckton – we are all looking forward to your “The Pause is back and it’s now 25 years” (or similar) article on WUWT.

    • Ian, you will have to wait until that actually happens, but it doesn’t look it will be any time soon. Temperatures will have to be quite a bit colder for quite a long time to counteract the recent El Nino. That is simply an artefact of the way the pause is calculated.
      I think the pause is currently about 6 months.

      • I do understand that seaice1 (and I repeat earlier blogs that you obviously don’t exist any more…), but, at some point (hopefully in 2017) there will be a huge statistical leap back to much earlier times. I really look forward to that day.

      • I’m keeping a close eye on global temperatures in case the Pause returns, but there will need to be a reasonably profound or prolonged la Nina before that happens. So far, land surface temperatures have fallen back to Nino-neutral values, and, in five months’ time, sea surface temperatures will also have fallen back. But we shall need la Nina conditions to re-establish the long Pause, and they seem to happen a little more than half the time following el Ninos, so we must wait and see.
        However, when I updated all five of the principal datasets earlier this week and determined the warming rates since January 1990, the year of the IPCC’s first predictions, I found that on all five datasets the rate of global warming was below the lower bound of the IPCC’s interval of predictions in 1990.
        I now know why the models have been over-predicting, but cannot say more till our paper on the subject – now out for review – is published. Watch this space!

      • I will assume that you mean that the natural cycles showing their effects is what you look forward to, as do all skeptics of anthropogenic climate forcing, Ian. The reality of that will not be very pretty if we return to 1816’s weather. It will not bother me to keep arguing (now that we have a national forum developing where it is allowed to be discussed) while the next El Nino brings us the latest record warm year by .001C. I hope to live out my life in a world that is warm and productive like right now. As far as the “trend” is going, the trend is more food produced/ less energy consumed for every warm or short winter we’ve seen here at the prairie’s edge.

      • Monckton of Brenchley
        November 30, 2016 at 10:56 am
        “I am keeping a close eye on global temperatures in case the Pause returns, but there will need to be a reasonably profound or prolonged la Nina before that happens. So far, land surface temperatures have fallen back to Nino-neutral values…………”
        Lord Monckton
        Please allow me to ask a question in regard to the above selected statement of yours:
        If the drop of temps nullifies the El Nino impact in the 2016 temps without a La Nina in the cards officially, or if the most of the temp drop effects mostly the temps towards the Pause before the La Nina, while still in a Nino neutral, will that consist as an acceptable return path to the Pause, in your opinion……Just asking, in a way as to cover all possibilities…?!

      • The stop in warmING is since at least as far back as 1997, farther, per Phil “Cheers” Jones. There has been no warming of any statistical significance since at least the 1997/98 El Nino step-up in temps..
        The temporary, El Nino generated, uptick in surface temps in 2015 did not cause a resumption of a warming trend.
        A plateau with a bump on it remains a plateau.

      • It’s easy enough to experiment with endless different scenarios to see under what circumstances the Pause (and I mean the one which started in 1997) could rise like a phoenix from the ashes of el Nino.
        For the UAH dataset:
        If the anomaly should dramatically drop to zero, and remain there, then the Pause will be back in September 2018, and be over 20 years in length.
        A slightly more modest drop to 0.02 degrees, and it would still not be back by the beginning of 2019.
        You can judge for yourself how likely these possibilities are, but casting an eye back over the last decade or so, I think I’d rather bet on a white Christmas in London.

    • “””””….. This warm water mass is unusual in ocean conditions and is considered to have a role in the formation of the unusual weather conditions felt in the Pacific Coast. …..”””””
      Actually it is involved in the formation of the usual weather conditions felt in the Pacific Coast.
      When the blob comes and goes and heats and cools, we getr the weather that usually goes a long with that.
      Move along now; nothing to see here !

      • Yes, george, can’t help but wonder if the blob isn’t just a mirror image of el nino/ la nina patterns. But, instead of hadley/walker trades doing the trick (in the western pacific), it’s the westerlies doing it in the eastern pacific. Just a wild guess on my part… (thought i’d put it out there to get some input from one or more of the many fabulous peops here at wuwt) i’s born in honolulu. So what many people find boring, that is ocean circulation patterns, i find natural to be fascinated by. (many, many thanx, too, for Tisdale and all the wonderful things that he does)…

    • Hello Mr Monckton,
      What is often missing are the IPCC PER DECADE predictions/Projections,when talking about temperature trends since at least 1979. The ones that are way above actual trends we experience.
      If you could show just how far off they are on decadal trends,you can make clear how poor the predictive capacity based on the AGW conjecture really are.
      This way you can show that the short warming periods we get are nothing alarming at all.

  2. It’s about time Boston, New York, Chicago, and Minneapolis stepped up to declare they don’t need Federal snow removal funds because of global warming.

    • the social cost of carbon. all the snow removal jobs in the USA lost to China and Mexico. We need to end global warming today so those jobs will return! Think of the billions we stand to lose if cities aren’t snowed in every winter.

  3. Trump threatens to ditch climate science, and global warming ends. Maybe politics really does play a part after all.

  4. The North Atlantic was much colder in the lower (2015) picture. That cold blob in the north Atlantic in the 2015 picture looks comparable to the cold blob in the north Pacific in the 2016 picture. Overall the 2016 picture looks slightly colder. Is it the overall sea surface temperature that is the primary climate driver or are there key locations, like the north pacific, that have more of an impact?

    • Both…
      If the Atlantic current moves a AMO blob into the Arctic….that’s a major impact
      …that cold blob was heading south and down

    • Also, the two maps are comparing late-Fall with mid-Summer in the northern hemisphere. Too bad we couldn’t have had comparisons between comparable time periods.

    • The entirety of the map looks far colder now than it did in Aug 2015—Antarctic Ocean and the far southern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans are all colder, the Indian Ocean is colder, and the extent across the majority of the northern Pacific and Niño 3-4 areas are all colder. Yet, I am positive we will hear how November was hotter than October and how December will be warmer still. At the very least we will hear about how 2016 was the warmest year ever recorded, all while making no mention of the El Niño event for the better portion of the year.
      When you think of heat content driving both ocean currents and atmospheric conditions, then the Pacific—as a whole, with it’s much greater depths—is far more important to the discussion than other basins. The North Atlantic is important for the Arctic Oscillation and sea ice growth, while the Indian Ocean is important to cyclonic development and the monsoon for that region of the world.
      My curiosity is centered on what drives the anomalies of the Gulf Stream off the eastern US seaboard. Heat must be transported from somewhere, and to me it looks like there isn’t much of a pool of warm water from which to be drawing upon to sustain that plume to the NE. Or it might be like the Rossby waves evidenced in the appearance of the La Niña in the eastern Pacific, and showing the slow NE progression of the higher-than-average SST’s in the Caribbean during 2015. If the latter is true, that would potentially indicate that a colder Gulf Stream will become apparent in a few months, which, when combined with the NH winter and cooler North Atlantic, spells a downward trend for the NAO.

    • Watch Joe Bastardi’s free weather videos (right panel) on Today’s is good to explain what you’re asking. The Daily vid will change by tomorrow morning. Doesn’t seen to be an archive for them.

  5. As this cold blob develops and impacts NA weather, I predict a pronounced migration of former political leaders to Hawaii in place of Chicago.

  6. Come on people…we’ve got two oceans here!….LOL
    Let’s look at the other blob…
    The one in the top right corner…that continues in the top left corner
    That’s the AMO blob…..
    “Arctic sea ice below normal” “NWP open” blah blah blah

  7. I would like to see the map’s colors reversed, where red/yellow is cold and blue is warm just to take away the tendency of your eye to fixate on yellow/red. I don’t have the software to do that but it would be interesting to see how you interpret such a map.

  8. Wait a minute. Are we able to detect how much warmth is getting locally into the ocean over a period of time from volcanic processing ? Let us argue further when we are able to present some clues in this matter .

    • Indeed – is it true that a hitherto unknown volcano has been discovered under the ‘blob’? Do we know what’s occurring along the Gakkan Ridge (under the current arctic warm spot)? Considering the sub-ice glaciers in W.Antarctica that ‘climate science’ never seems to mention, is it time that sub-oceanic/glacier tectonics & vulcanism is studied more closely?

      • Why no response to:
        ChrisDinBristol November 30, 2016 at 11:17 am
        Indeed – is it true that a hitherto unknown volcano has been discovered under the ‘blob’? Do we know what’s occurring along the Gakkan Ridge (under the current arctic warm spot)? Considering the sub-ice glaciers in W.Antarctica that ‘climate science’ never seems to mention, is it time that sub-oceanic/glacier tectonics & vulcanism is studied more closely?

  9. does this mean more rain in California? if so then will sanity come back to those retards? it is weird how Cali’s think that water can be squoze from paper and ink. Maybe a brain bore of some type entered the ear canal.
    From Night Gallery “The Caterpillar” 1972.

  10. Very interesting. Thanks for showing this Anthony. The Pacific has more heat I believe than all the other oceans combined. The oceans of course have over 1,000 times more heat than the atmosphere.
    If 2017 is not cooler than 2016, it will be a shocker. Same probably with 2018(cooler than 2016) but this is stating the obvious after the strong El Nino.
    If they are as warm as 2016, without an El Nino, then we have more warming than expected(for most skeptics like me).

  11. This should enhance probabilities for this winter’s formation of North Pacific weather bombs (aka Explosive Cyclogenesis.) taking aim at the Pacific NW and carrying motherloads of snow and precipe to the Rockies, great plains, and beyond this winter.
    Insurers and NE Pacific marine operators take note.
    See more here:
    Maybe someone with the appropriate background-education-expertise could expand on this possibility in a WUWT post?

  12. I’m disappointed that someone hasn’t taken the opportunity to use the El Nino and the blob, their areas, temperatures, locations… look at the response in the temperature historically and calculate the cooling going forward. Willis, perhaps?
    The fact that this and other opportunities (the pause for example) to advance climate science will NOT be undertaken by main stream ‘scientists’ is telling of the politisizing of science. Shame on the pathetic lot of them. Take a shot at such an analysis yourself, Bob T.

      • Thanks MRW. I forgot about the good work they do. I guess my main admonishment was toward the CAGW consensus. They definitely do more hoping, praying, and where possible fudging to satisfy an agenda instead of searching for ways to objectively do climate science. The blob and the now obliterated Pause were beautiful phenomena for advancing the science that was ignored by academic researchers.

    • OMG, It’s 97% worse than we thought, we’re all going to freeze to death, there’ll be storm & pestilence, mothers will eat their young; we’re doomed unless YOU repent…. by sending money to my account C/O Big Betty’s Beach Bar Barbados.

    • Bob’s post from one month ago has better comparisons/animation.
      The Pacific NW has been affected by these warm Blob assisted land temps for over two years. To me, the rapid change is the main story. Possible snow is now in the 7-day forecast for the Puget Sound lowlands (Seattle area) and people are already freaking out. If it arrives, it will be entertaining. Keep an eye out for more YT videos of sliding cars and buses shortly afterwards.

      • Yup, they will shutdown the city, people will abandon their automobiles all for a dusting of snow. And of course they won’t try to melt the snow because it will pollute the sound!

      • The campers used shields for the water and a camp fire warming them at their backs. I would suggest to the authorities a combo of water and industrial fans mounted on flatbed trucks next time.

  13. As a resident of the cloudy, forested region of SW Washington state hope to see the N Pacific “cold blob” translate into a semi-stationary H5 trough parked around 120W, plus or minus 5 degrees or so, this winter thus producing one of those very snowy winters we have not seen for some time now.

    • How about “I’ve Got a Secret” for millennials and their poor choices of ‘news’ and information.

  14. Did the heat somehow move to the arctic? link Holy Moses it’s warm above 80 deg. N. lat. If it doesn’t get cold quickly, we’re going to set records for minimum ice next summer.
    Could this be an example of Judith Curry’s stadium waves? Is it only a coincidence that the arctic got warm when the blob disappeared?

    • The poles are where tropical air and water go to die.
      When the wind dies and the sky clears and with 24 hrs of night , any air over the ice will radiate its heat quickly into space. The air over water takes a bit longer, since it has to absorb the heat from the water under it until it freezes, but again it doesn’t take that long.
      Plus even though the air is anomalously warm, its actual temperature is still pretty cold.
      Go out into the desert at night in the winter and see how fast the temperature drops on a still winter night. Check back in January and see where we stand.

    • commieBob
      Yes it did. There was a higher than normal movement of atmosphere into the Arctic area this year, near identical to 2012, when the sea ice minimum was set (in recorded history). It started moving there about mid year, about the same time that the Pacific cyclones started occuring. Less atmospheric volume moved to the southern hemisphere than the historical average in 2016.

  15. Lets see what the cold blob actually does, as I think it is a bit early to tell. It has been as cold as a witch’s whatever in Oz for their spring, so I do not know what this sort of thing means over the whole Pacific Ocean.

    • yup Dec 1st and I am hugging a wheatbag n debating turning heater on…powercost means one has to consider that
      and more rises in price coming due to stuffup SA and Vic coalplant shutting soon;-(

  16. One thing we know about “Weather” is that is variable. It was -3 C and snowed in Saudi yesterday. I was in the UAE a few years ago for an endurance horse race in the fall. The expected “normal” temperature was 20 to 25C but on race day it ended up being 45C plus. Seems like variable WEATHER is pretty normal to me but then I have only been about for one 60+ year cycle so who knows?
    Perhaps the gods weren’t happy with OPEC agreeing to limit oil production.
    For Windsong and Cold Wind – Joe Bastardi predicted higher than normal snow in the North West this year and so far he has been right. I went skiing in very nice Powder at Banff, Alberta on November 18. Some resorts have opened early. Good snow in most of the west:

  17. one thing i noticed with the current enso picture the “waves” of cold temps, the cold northerly “waves”, they line up relatively close with the location of the tao monitoring buoys, can someone do a comparison, because iit looks REALLY close (via mk1 eyeball)…could the model not not be projecting correctly across the ocean, if buoy to buoy is the “same” temp. shouldn’t the temp between them be also interpolated about the same as well? (i know ocean dynamics and currents alter some temps but seeing the peak to peak distances almost all be equidistant from each other implies to me a bias somewhere- i don’t think nature would be that symetrical.

    • No, it went over North America. That is why we had warm air temperatures during November.
      Now that the blob has plopped down in the North Atlantic, cold air temperatures were return to North America in December.
      (If you don’t believe me, I have a model that proves it. I just can’t show you my data. //Alarmist hat off//.)

    • That warm area in the Atlantic from the NE states up past Nfld has bugged me for a long time. Has anyone measured the temp of the rivers running into the Atlantic from the Wash-Boston corridor? Or the discharge directly from the cities? Then add the major flow from the St. Lawrence system (Great Lakes region) and all those major cities. I am aware that it would take a lot of warm water outflow to affect the ocean temps, but we are talking about only a degree or two. What do you think?

      • Same here. Been watching this for a couple of years now. Can’t be from the Gulf as the Gulfs temps barely matched this blob’s temps even in summer months. Could the cold mass off of Europe be blocking it? Did Iceland’s volcanic eruptions change ocean currents there?

  18. The Blob is yet another sea temperature anomaly that seems to be geographically tied to an area with a seismically active sea floor – in this case the Cascadia subduction zone and the Juan de Fuca Plate.

  19. Also note the strong La Niña pattern in blue across the Pacific equatorial region in the top panel…

    I’m sorry – “strong” La Nina??? I don’t think -0.5C anomaly quite qualifies as …strong. I believe the correct adjective you are looking for is: weak

  20. Lord Monckton:
    All this talk of La Nina, the pause, El nino from both sides of the debate has really been for statistical reasons, perfectly without foundation.
    A much larger yearly sample than decades is required to assess climate change.
    The span of the Holocene is perfectly acceptable for statistical purposes.
    Guys like Griff have a statistically insignificant 2 or 3 year wind of observations.
    By focusing on the last decade or two plays into the hands of the global warmists.
    Ask if they disagree with the 10,000 years or so data that shows we are falling into another ice age.
    I, of course stand to be corrected.

  21. One has to take the 61 year ocean PDO/AMO cycle evolution into account…. which means: How was the blob 61 years ago? The prevous completed 61.year cycle must show us how the red blob turned into a blue blob and what followed after this…..
    …This is, what “cycle” means and the blob re-appears in its proper cycle time position

  22. Joe Bastardi predicted this three years ago. Its a rerun of the early 50’s. First a “blob” and widespread high Pacific SSTs. This evolved slowly to cold temperatures across the Pacific, and the start of three decades of cooling climate.

  23. The blob was caused by initially the submarine eruption of the Nishinoshima volcano 940 km south of Tokyo. See explanation on the blob in a feature article just published in Imperial Engineer Issue 25 page 15.

    • Well, according to a couple of fellows I saw on tv the other night (Science channel, I think), the heated ocean water only went a few hundred feet deep underneath the Blob, which, according to them, means it was not being driven by heat from the ocean floor.

      • Thanks TA
        The timing of the newly created volcanic island in late November is interesting – the onset of the Northern Hemisphere winter. However, not so much is known of the eruption history except for the increase in size and elevation of the volcanic island since November 2013.

    • I would be interested in the particulars of how the hot blobs of water were transported from the volcano to the western U.S.
      These were three distinct “blobs” of hot water and not a continuous stream? How did these blobs remain blobs all the way across the pacific ocean? And when they reached the west coast of the U.S. did they pile up on one another or spread out? I assume you are saying that these blobs were just the events that put everything in motion and then the Big Blob off the west coast became self-sustaining, once put in motion.

      • Possibly linked to pulses of eruption activity until August 2015 under the influence of the circulating gyres. We need to track the development of sea surface temperature anomalies in the Northern Pacific Ocean to find the answer.

  24. This cold zone has built across the north Pacific from Asia all through November. I will really be interested in the NOAA monthly climate images to see if that area is shown as below average temperature. Any time the temperature is as little as half a degree above average, it gets shaded, but even up to a degree lower than average still gets colored white as being near normal.

  25. The hot as well as the cold blobs seem to originate in the NW Pacific off Russian coast and progress eastwards toward the Alaska coast. Seems to take a couple of years.
    Argo floats should be dropped in area off Japan and monitored for drift and temps.

    • Please look at figure 1 of the paper in my Dec 1 1:21 a.m. post. It will show a possible reason why the blobs of warm and cold water appear to move in longitude.

  26. I’m interested to see how much geothermal heat from the Pacific Ring of Fire causes temperature changes in the oceans. It appears that we have had quite a few larger than normal earthquakes in the last few years. If this rises the temperature of the water, than climate change science could be debunked.
    Of course, they would probably blame it all on fracking.

  27. my guess about the cold blob: looks suspiciously like a PDO switch from warm to cold to me.
    i would not be surprised to see the PDO turning into negative in a month or 3

  28. hmmm. Of all the potential markers for regime shift, I wonder if the last dying appearance of a persistant warm anomaly blob in the North Pacific might be the telltale sign of the last exhaled breath of discharging heat from the oceans before they switch into net recharge mode.
    Just thinkin.

  29. hmmm. Comment did not show up. Could be some kind of issue at my end since I am at a temporary IPS address.

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