Massive marine heatwave strikes the northeastern Pacific • Earth.com

Last update: June 5th, 2020 at 11:00 pm

Massive marine heatwave strikes the northeastern Pacific. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory shows a massive marine heatwave in the northeastern Pacific Ocean in August of 2019.

Red colors represent areas that were hotter than average, while blue-colored areas were colder than average. 

A team at Coral Reef Watch created the map by combining data from the Suomi NPP, MTSAT, Meteosat, POES, Terra, Aqua, and GOES satellites with computer models.

The unusually warm water will impact marine ecosystems and regional fisheries. 

Nicholas Bond is a climatologist and research meteorologist at the University of Washington.

“I would not be surprised if the class of salmon that went to sea this year have relatively low survival rates,” said Bond. “Many of us in the climate and fisheries – oceanography community along the West Coast and in Alaska are watching what is happening with great interest – and at least some trepidation.”

This region is still recovering from a similar event that persisted from 2014 to 2016.The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth’s oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica) in the south and is bounded by the continents of Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.

At 165,250,000 square kilometers (63,800,000 square miles) in area (as defined with an Antarctic southern border), this largest division of the World Ocean—and, in turn, the hydrosphere—covers about 46% of Earth’s water surface and about one-third of its total surface area, making it larger than all of Earth’s land area combined. The centers of both the Water Hemisphere and the Western Hemisphere are in the Pacific Ocean. The equator subdivides it into the North(ern) Pacific Ocean and South(ern) Pacific Ocean, with two exceptions: the Galápagos and Gilbert Islands, while straddling the equator, are deemed wholly within the South Pacific.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

 

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