Will the Blob become permanent?

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Will the Blob become permanent?

Postby HBS Guy » 22 Jun 2018, 23:52

From wiki:
Sea surface temperature indicated that The Blob persisted into 2016,[3] but was thought to have dissipated later that year. By September 2016, "The Blob" resurfaced and made itself known to meteorologists.[4] This warm water mass is unusual in ocean conditions and is considered to have a role in the formation of the unusual weather conditions felt in the Pacific Coast of North America.[1] The warm waters of the Blob are nutrient poor and have adversely affected marine life.

You can look the rest of that up in wiki or elsewhere.

RobertScribbler discusses whether the Blob could become permanent:

From the North Pacific to the tropics, loss of sea ice will result in a vastly heated Pacific Ocean in which events like the recent Hot Blob become far more common. Those were the conclusions of a new model study conducted by Wang, Deser, Sun and Tomas and recently published in Geophysical Research Letters.

You need to know that the energy it takes to heat one cubic centimetre (cc) of ice to 1cc of water at 0°C will heat that 1cc of 0°C water to 1cc of 80°C water! As Arctic ice disappears in summer the Arctic Ocean will undergo a lot of heating.

An ocean heating event called the Blob resulted in mass loss of sea life during the period of 2013-2014. It was associated with a towering high pressure ridge in which the upper level winds ran far to the north and into the Arctic. Beneath the ridge, temperatures both at the land and ocean surface grew to be much warmer than normal.

. . .many began to draw connections between the powerful ridge feature, the related Pacific warming, and sea ice loss in the Arctic. Now, a new scientific study using climate models has produced some rather telling findings. First, the study found that Arctic sea ice loss results in large scale Pacific Ocean warming within just 10-20 years of widespread Arctic Ocean ice reductions. Second, the study models indicated that warming occurred first and strongest in the North Pacific, but then rapidly translated toward the Equator.

The whole paper is available here.

The reason for this change in planetary and Pacific Ocean energy balance is scientifically described as a teleconnection. In very basic terms, loss of sea ice at the Arctic Ocean surface produces changes in local wind patterns that ripple through the global atmosphere. After a rather short period of time, wind patterns in the upper levels of the atmosphere and at the surface in the Pacific Ocean become involved.

Winds are often the vehicle by which energy is transferred throughout the atmosphere and at the surface. So a change in winds, from the top of the atmosphere to the bottom, can swiftly translate to a change in surface temperatures.

When open water replaces ice and absorbs the sun rather than reflecting it as ice and snow used to do barometric pressure and thus winds change, I think we can all see that?

Looking at the study, it appears more likely now that the Northern Pacific Hot Blob of 2013-2014 was not a fluke, but instead an early knock-on effect of Arctic sea ice loss. A kind of event that will tend to become commonplace as the Arctic Ocean ice continues to melt. And that eventually, sooner rather than later, the heat build-up in the North Pacific will translate south to the Equator. First warming the Eastern Pacific in a more persistent El Nino type pattern and then spreading west (see image above).

As with the Blob, everything from the health of sea life to the intensity of extreme weather would be substantially impacted by such large scale changes. In other words, it looks like large scale losses of Arctic sea ice are enough to affect a broad and disruptive change in the global climate regime.


The Abstract and plain language Summary for the paper cited above:

Fast Response of the Tropics to an Abrupt Loss of Arctic Sea Ice via Ocean Dynamics

The role of ocean dynamics in the transient adjustment of the coupled climate system to an abrupt loss of Arctic sea ice is investigated using experiments with Community Climate System Model version 4 in two configurations: a thermodynamic slab mixed layer ocean and a full‐depth ocean that includes both dynamics and thermodynamics. Ocean dynamics produce a distinct sea surface temperature warming maximum in the eastern equatorial Pacific, accompanied by an equatorward intensification of the Intertropical Convergence Zone and Hadley Circulation. These tropical responses are established within 25 years of ice loss and contrast markedly with the quasi‐steady antisymmetric coupled response in the slab‐ocean configuration. A heat budget analysis reveals the importance of anomalous vertical advection tied to a monotonic temperature increase below 200 m for the equatorial sea surface temperature warming maximum in the fully coupled model. Ocean dynamics also rapidly modify the midlatitude atmospheric response to sea ice loss.

Plain Language Summary
The effect of projected Arctic sea ice loss on the global climate system is investigated using a state‐of‐the‐art coupled climate model. This study shows that the tropics respond to the ice loss within two to three decades via dynamical ocean processes and air‐sea interaction. This tropical response in turn modifies the atmospheric circulation and precipitation responses over the North Pacific. This fast response indicates that ocean dynamics needs to be represented for an accurate picture of the global impact of Arctic sea ice loss.

This is important to an understanding of what happens when the Arctic is substantially icefree in summer, already half the September ice coverage is gone and remaining ice is mainly thin one year ice.
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