The coast of the Pacific Northwest from space
The coast of the Pacific Northwest from space. The Blob, which brought unusually high ocean temps, spanned much of the Pacific coast.

Unusually warm oceans can have widespread effects on marine ecosystems. Warm patches off the Pacific Northwest from 2013 to 2015, and a couple of years earlier in the Atlantic Ocean, affected everything from sea lions to fish migrations to coastal weather.

A University of Washington oceanographer is lead author of a study looking at the history of such features across the Northern Hemisphere. The study was published in March in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

“We can think of marine heatwaves as the analog to atmospheric heatwaves, except they happen at the sea surface and affect marine ecosystems,” said lead author Hillary Scannell, a UW doctoral student in oceanography. “There are a lot of similarities.”

Scannell recently spoke with King 5’s Glenn Farley about her work looking at the history of marine heat waves.

Read more at UW Today »