An blob of warmer Pacific Ocean water is expected have major impacts on the province’s coastal ecology.
For the last two winters, a pressure field over the northeast Pacific Ocean meant there was very little wind.
The low winds meant the water didn’t circulate as usual, leading to rising water temperatures.
Professor Jay T. Cullen is with the University of Victoria’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, he says temperatures haven’t been so anomalously warm since measurements have been taken.
The water temperature in the blob is about two to three degrees warmer than the surrounding water.
While may seem like only a small increase, it represents a significant shift in what kinds of water organisms that can live on the coast, says Cullen.
He speculates that the warmer waters will impact the food chain in the coastal waters, affecting fisheries and production.
Cullen says since this is the first time this climate event has occurred, there’s no data on what to expect or how long it might last.
He adds that scientists will continue to study the changing ecosystem and what affect it might have, especially given all the dramatic changes that are occurring with the climate.