PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Weird things are happening off the Pacific Coast.
And at the center of the action is a warm-water mass that scientists call "the blob."
It's turning the coastal ecosystem on its head. Species are dying along Washington, Oregon and northern California: sea stars, marine birds and sardines, among them.
It started in the fall of 2013 when the Gulf of Alaska's usual winter storms didn't show up to cool down the Pacific.
That gave rise to an expanse of warmer water, according to Bill Peterson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
And it has spread. By last summer the blob had consumed the entire North Pacific from California to Canada. A few months later it had touched the West Coast shore. Now it spans 2,000 miles from Baja, Mexico to Alaska, stretching 500 miles wide.
It's hard to get away from something that big, and while some species are dying, others are behaving strangely.
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