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Mystery 'blob' of hot water found in the Pacific

Posted on Monday, 6 January, 2020 | Comment icon 14 comments

Ocean temperatures are rising. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Brocken Inaglory
A vast swathe of water exhibiting an unexpectedly high temperature has left scientists scratching their heads.
Covering an area of over one million square kilometers, this huge patch of warm water is situated in the Pacific Ocean around 800km off the coast of New Zealand.

On average the temperature of the water in this area is around six degrees higher than expected.

"It's the biggest patch of above average warming on the planet right now," said James Renwick, head of geography, environment and earth sciences at Victoria University in Wellington.

"Normally the temperatures there are about 15C, at the moment they are about 20C."
Exactly what is responsible for this temperature spike is unclear.

"It's not uncommon to see patches of warmer water off New Zealand but this magnitude of four, five, up to six degrees is pretty unusual," he said. "It's probably a very thin layer of ocean that has warmed up and there hasn't been any wind to cool it for several weeks."

Efforts will be made in the coming weeks to monitor the region and to narrow down the cause.

With global temperatures rising however, phenomena like this are likely to become more common.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (14)

Tags: Ocean, Global Warming

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Eldorado on 28 December, 2019, 13:34
The 'hot blob' off the New Zealand coast: All you need to know At the NZ Herald: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12296793
Comment icon #6 Posted by Doug1029 on 30 December, 2019, 20:00
Neither volcanoes nor cyclones.  Just lots of sun and little wind.  The "blob" is expected to dissipate as it moves eastward.  This is a non-event - so far. Doug
Comment icon #7 Posted by Jon the frog on 6 January, 2020, 18:09
The biggest risk of climate change is the destruction of the ocean food web and plankton producing much of our oxygen. We cannot have a stable climate on a long-term basis, it change naturally and life adapt but if the speed of the change is too fast that's a big problem because practically nothing will be able to adapt fast enough.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Robotic Jew on 6 January, 2020, 19:08
When ya gotta go...ya gotta go!
Comment icon #9 Posted by tortugabob on 6 January, 2020, 19:50
Are they sure it's not an undiscovered underwater volcano?
Comment icon #10 Posted by Troublehalf on 7 January, 2020, 4:28
As much as I dislike the Guardian, there is plenty of other sources covering the story out there. You gotta take your pick, unless you think the Guardian has made this all up and every source is referencing them? In a any case, if one is interested in an article, it's probably best to read other sources anyway; you often get a bigger picture and more information (local papers for example).   As for the article itself, a cause could be pacific decadal oscillation. I believe the west coast of USA/Canada has a similar issue a few years ago and that was a suggested cause (and by cause I mean how t... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by Seti42 on 7 January, 2020, 4:52
Cthulhu peed in the pool again.   
Comment icon #12 Posted by tmcom on 7 January, 2020, 9:21
The Guardian makes pretty much everything up!
Comment icon #13 Posted by Doug1029 on 7 January, 2020, 17:40
Don't think you need to worry about this one.  It's too small and in the wrong place to have much effect on weather on the American continents and will have to recur many times before it has a significant effect on climate, and then, only a minor effect.  Still, we might get a little rain out of it. Doug
Comment icon #14 Posted by NCC1701 on 9 January, 2020, 14:22
Nothing to see here: https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/ocean/primary/waves/overlay=sea_surface_temp/orthographic=186.02,-42.46,709/loc=172.551,-19.206

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