Oregon and Washington will experience two big El Nino-like events in combination this year, scientists and fishery managers say. This has never happened before and the events could have major impacts on commercial and recreational fisheries — and ocean species from salmon to orcas — for years to come.
One of these events is a true El Nino — a big one — and brings with it the likelihood of less precipitation and warmer temperatures in the Pacific Northwest.
The other event, the “Blob,” is a warm expanse of water that has persisted off the West Coast for over a year and only resembles El Nino. It is an anomaly, a mystery. Formed by a completely different set of circumstances, it has brought about similar results as an El Nino: scientists believe it could be one reason why Washington has experienced such unusually mild weather since the spring of 2014. It has certainly warmed the water off the West Coast, driving various ocean species farther north in search of cold water and drawing tropical species to the area.
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