Category Archives: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Blob and El Niño Cause Changes in the West Coast’s Marine Ecosystems

California’s marine ecosystems have seen a dramatic decrease in recent years due to El Niño and The Blob. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that The Blob, which they discovered in 2013, has been highly disruptive for marine life on the West Coast. The Blob, just like El Niño, is a large area of ocean water that has above average temperatures. As its name implies, The Blob just seemed to hang around and grow about 1,000 miles offshore from Mexico to Alaska. The Blob caused a temperature increase of seven degrees Fahrenheit wherever it was spotted.

Some of the specific changes in marine life that have been noticed in recent years include reports that humpback whales are swimming closer to the shore, sportfish are migrating to southern California, and red crabs are washing up on central California beaches. Marine biologists are trying to figure out ways to restore a sense of balance to these ecosystems that have been thrown out of whack.

Scientists explain that warm temperatures change the wind and currents of the ocean. All of these rapid changes have a negative effect on the natural process of photosynthesis, and thus the food marine animals would eat becomes scarce. Scientists have also said that El Niño and The Blob are tapering off, but the ecosystems they touched are still in a state of disarray. Researchers hope to better understand these massive changes to figure out a way to restore balance to the West Coast’s marine life.