A warmer winter with less snow could be on the horizon due to a warm patch of ocean water off the Northwest coast. (Black Press Media photo)

Ocean ‘blob’ returns to B.C.’s North Coast

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

The “blob” has returned to the northwest coast, and it could bring an unusually warm winter with it.

Located in the northern Pacific, just off the shore of northern B.C. and the southern Gulf of Alaska, the blob is an approximately 2,000 kilometre area of water that is unseasonably warm.

Nicholas Bond, a climatologist at the University of Washington, coined the term after detecting the warm circular body of water for the first time in 2014.

READ MORE: Record high temperatures for July 4 in Prince Rupert

“If you were in a fishing boat in that area and you put your hand in the water you’d still think it was cold, but it would actually be 2-3 degrees warmer than it should be for that time of year,” said Armel Castellan, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Castellan said this warm body of water has been developing over the course of a few months, and was detected by satellites earlier in the summer.

Castellan added that a weak El Nino is also moving into the area. He said the combination of the two high energy systems combining could result in warm temperatures persisting in the northwest with higher levels of freezing and less snow.

While precipitation measurements for Prince Rupert are sparse, Castellan noted that Green Island — which is just off the coast of Dundas Island — received 50 per cent less precipitation from April to September than it did in 2017.

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“You’ve stacked the cards in the deck that we’re going to have a warmer season coming up here,” he said.

The blob was first spotted by satellites in 2014 and lasted until 2015. It reappeared in September 2016 before dissipating again and has not been seen again until the summer of 2018.



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