We hear about heat waves on land but not so much about marine heat waves. They are created by strong areas of high pressure that bring stagnant ocean conditions and help to increase the water temperature.
We have our own Pacific heat wave that has been developing on & off over the past several years. You may have heard of it, it’s know as “The Blob” and it was first discovered in 2013. Check out the image below and you can see how it’s currently strengthening just off the West Coast with temperatures trending warming.
The data below shows the number of marine heat wave days are also increasing. In 1900, we averaged just under 30 days with these marine heat waves and in 2016 we averaged over 60 days per year.
Why is all of this important? When the ocean warms there is less nutrients to feed marine life and this can lower the pacific fish stock and even cause sea lion pups and other animals to starve. Another side effect is sea level rise as warmer water expands.
You can find out more about how the Bay Area climate is changing in a series of stories the Microclimate Weather Team worked on across the Bay Area.