Marine heatwaves have been gaining attention since a large heatwave known as “the Blob” dominated the northeast Pacific Ocean in 2014-2015. At its peak, the Blob was 7.8 million km2 with near surface waters more than 2.5°C warmer than normal.
Many ecological effects of the high temperatures that came with the Blob were documented, such as an unprecedented harmful algal bloom that closed important West Coast fisheries, depressed salmon returns, stranded sea lion pups and increased whale entanglements. In summer 2019, another marine heatwave formed in the Pacific Ocean. By September 2019, it had already reached 6.5 million km2 with temperatures as much as 3°C warmer than normal. This class will discuss the implications of marine heatwaves for Puget Sound and the sea life that live there.