The Pacific Stain is back, and that could mean bad news for the West Coast of the United States and Canada.
This is because in the past the lump of warm ocean water has brought bad feeding for salmon. It has been associated with whale dying and warmer temperatures in western North America.
It has also been associated with a phenomenon that Californian meteorologists named the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge which was believed to have played a major role in the drought that left the state [1
"Seeing how a blob establishes itself at this season is somehow surprising," said Castellan CBC News . "It's a symptom of the persistent or stagnant weather we've had over the past four years."
Alaska already sees unusually warm temperatures, and northern British Columbia is still experiencing summery weather. According to the 19659004 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Alaska has just finished one of the warmest September in 94 years. Parts of southern Italy experience a drought.
The Pacific blob of warm water creates a high-pressure period that changes the direction of the Pacific Jet Stream. This causes warmer weather and, in the case of the California Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, prevents normal winter storms from landing where they are most needed.
Right now, if the Pacific Blob does not disintegrate, Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Montana in northern Wyoming, and western North Dakota, winter temperatures could be warmer than usual.
A side effect of the Pacific Blob seems to be colder and wetter than normal weather in the US Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
Phenomena like the Pacific stain are becoming more common, say meteorologists.
It's definitely something we see with these elastic ridges, "Castellan said," and the only question is how much of that is related to climate change. "
Photo credits: Rick Thoman, based on OISST data from NOAA Earth System Research Lab.