Last week, a massive marine heat wave sitting roughly 60 miles off California’s coast oozed eastward, providing warm water fuel for Hurricane Hilary and its historic trek north. It was a worrisome development for researchers who have monitored this warm mass for nearly a decade — and who are watching a developing El Niño in the equatorial Pacific.
Federal scientists have created a new tool for forecasting marine heat waves, and they say one is currently forming in the North Pacific Ocean not far from the California coast.
The marine heat wave currently predicted to linger into fall is not expected to have the impact of “the blob” — the name for a period of high seawater temperatures that persisted along the West Coast from 2014 to 2016. But scientists say their new prediction models will help forecast similar extreme ocean warming events that are expected to increase in duration and intensity with climate change.