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Ocean blob is a ‘bad deal of weather cards’ for the Northwest

A warm pocket of water in the Pacific Ocean is to blame for Washington's rather warm weather. (File photo)

It’s warm, it’s big, it’s a blob and we can’t destroy it.

It’s also to blame for Washington’s rather warm weather.

“It’s a big chunk of water that is much warmer than normal,” State Climatologist and University of Washington Professor Nick Bond told KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don Thursday afternoon about the warm water off of Washington’s coast. The phenomenon has been dubbed a “water blob.”

“It is probably helping make our weather a little warmer than it otherwise would be,” he said. “And like you said, it gave us a meager snow pack coming out of winter.”

Bond noted the “weird weather patterns” the Northwest has experienced over the past few winters has influenced the water blob. Drier winters without usual storms that cool off the ocean have kept the ocean waters warmer over the past couple of years.

“How big are these blobs, and can we go out there and destroy one of these blobs if we want to go skiing next year?” Don asked the professor.

The answer is simple: no. The blob is thousands of miles across, Bond said.

The warm water has contributed to the warmer than usual patterns we have been experiencing, Bond said. But it has also been influenced by southwestern storms that have come into the area.

While global warming is a concern, Bond said the blob is not a product of it.

“This is kind of a fluke, a bad deal of the weather cards. It’s a short term climate event,” Bond said. “That being said, it’s the kind of conditions we are going to be seeing more in future decades.

“The globe has warmed. Temperatures here in Washington state, especially nighttime temperatures in the summer, have warmed over the last century.”

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