The Blob is coming!
It’s not made of jelly or campy ‘80s special effects. This Blob is a massive patch of warm water in the northern Pacific Ocean—and it may be a reason for our unbearably hot summer.
What can an Alaska-sized mass of water only five degrees warmer do to our climate, you ask?
According to Philip Mote, director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute at Oregon State University, potentially a lot. The Blob's five-degree temperature difference is the largest variation ever seen on the historic record. And changes like these in the ocean can influence changes in the atmosphere.
Scientists think the Blob was formed in early 2014 by a ridge of high pressure, which led to fewer storms reaching the West Coast and thus lower rainfall and higher temps. Much like it’s cinematic namesake, the Blob isn’t going anywhere and is actually sustaining the ridge of high pressure, creating a self-feeding cycle of potential drought-causing ingredients. Meaning, you guessed it, the West Coast drought and Oregon’s hot weather probably aren’t going away anytime soon.
“We know that the ocean influences the atmosphere, as well as the other way around," says Mote. "If the Blob helped sustain the ridge then that means it had a role in helping create the drought.”
The good news? You might be able to help.
Mote and other researchers are recruiting concerned citizens to use personal computers to crunch their sizable amount of climate data. You can download the software on to your computer and data will be sent (virus-free) directly to climate scientists. For more info, visit climateprediction.net.
If climate change doesn’t scare you then maybe this squishy compilation of death scenes from the 1988 remake of The Blob is more up your alley, featuring a gloriously mulleted, pre-Entouarge Kevin Dillon. You’re welcome.