Something odd is happening in Northern Pacific waters: They’re heating up. In fact, it hasn’t been this warm in parts of the Gulf of Alaska for this long since researchers began tracking surface water temperatures in the 1980s, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The warming began last year in the Gulf of Alaska and has since been dubbed “The Blob” by Nick Bond of the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean. Temperatures have been as high as about 5 degrees Fahrenheit above average.
And now, strange fish are showing up. In the past year, there have been “unusual fish occurrences” in Alaskan waters, according to NOAA research biologist Joe Orsi, such as a skipjack tuna. The last documented skipjack tuna in Alaska was in the 1980s.
In August, a thresher shark was caught in the Gulf of Alaska, Orsi noted. Those sharks are more typical off the coasts of British Columbia and Baja California. Two other threshers were spotted in the past four years in the more southern waters of the Alaskan gulf.
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