The Blob in the Pacific

There is a ribbon of algae blooming in the Pacific Ocean. It is about 65 kilometres wide and extends to a depth of 200 metres stretching from Alaska in the North to the shores of California. Algae is reasonably common in oceans but in this part of the Pacific it is unprecedented because normally the waters are too cold to encourage algae. However, this part of the Pacific seems unusually warm – some reports say it is 3 degrees Celsius warmer than usual, thus making a good environment for microscopic algae.

Local shell fish industries are concerned about it. Shell fish can absorb algae and when they do they can become poisonous with domic acid. Eating infected algae can create short term memory loss, so shellfish industries have had to avoid fishing in a large areas of the ocean off the coast of Washington State where the algae thrives.

Normally algae blooms last for only a few weeks before disappearing but the scientists say that these blooms are now becoming more frequent, lasting longer and spreading wider. Locals call the present mass of algae “the blob”.

I wonder why this part of the Pacific Ocean is warmer than normal.

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