Feature

In hot water

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  01 Feb 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6426, pp. 442-445
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6426.442

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

Five years after an unusual pattern of warm water started to form in the Gulf of Alaska, scientists are starting to understand the sweeping ecological impacts of an underwater heat wave that became known as The Blob. From tiny algae to humpback whales, the warm patch of water that eventually stretched across much of the west coast of North America touched virtually every level of the ecosystems there. Although the Blob has now faded, its effects continue to be felt. This research comes at a time of growing scientific interest, and mounting concern, about these underwater heat waves. Scientists now predict they will become more intense, more frequent, and longer lasting over this century, because of climate change. Blob-like temperatures are expected to become the new normal in the northeast Pacific Ocean by midcentury.