Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean – Changes in pressure and winds in the North Pacific caused sea surface temperatures to rise above normal. In the process, a powerful ocean heat wave was created that affected regional climate and marine life.

An ocean (ocean) heat wave is similar to an atmospheric heat wave, which we all know as warm or superheated air. Changes in atmospheric pressure and wind patterns can cause ocean temperatures to rise above normal.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

Heat waves in the ocean are known as marine heat waves or MHWs. These marine heat waves occur when temperatures are warmer than normal for an extended period of time. They can have a significant impact on marine ecosystems and the food industry.

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The map below shows specific areas of the world where ocean heat waves occur. We are going to focus on the North Pacific today as it is currently developing a strong new ocean heat wave.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

The diagram below shows the typical development of a heat wave in the ocean. Typically, the initial phase begins with warmer than normal temperatures that are not immediately recognized as ocean heat waves. An ocean heat wave requires consecutive days of abnormal temperatures.

Below is a current global ocean temperature anomaly map showing warmer/colder than normal ocean temperatures. We can see a strong warm anomaly in the North Pacific stretching from the east coast of Asia to the west coast of North America. This will be our focus.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

File:temperature Bar Chart Ocean South Pacific 1870 2020 2021 07 13.png

The video below shows the development of the temperature anomaly in the North Pacific, where you can see the beginning of an intense ocean heat wave. Anomalies were moving back and forth in early May, but warmer than usual. Two distinct phases of strong warm anomalies occur in late May and late June through July.

The development of this ocean phenomenon started in May. Earlier in the month, a high pressure area strengthened off the US West Coast. It extends to the northern part of the Pacific Ocean. A low pressure system was located over the Aleutian Islands.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

The main effect of a high pressure system is that it reduces the rate of heat loss from the ocean to the atmosphere. This is due to the warmer air over the surface of the water, as well as a very calm climate. Weak winds mean weaker surface ocean currents and less mixing of ocean water.

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The deeper you go, the colder the sea gets. Thus, low pressure systems and strong winds create waves and rough seas, mixing the warm upper layers deeper and cooling the ocean surface. In calm climates, there is no mixing and cooling, and sea surface temperatures may rise.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

By the end of May, the high pressure area is still there, but this time there is a low pressure area to the south.

Looking at the wind patterns below, you can see the anomalous southerly wind flow. This helped push warm water northward.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

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Along with the influence of the high pressure system, this helped create a large warm ocean anomaly in the northeast Pacific Ocean. You can see colder than normal water reaching south along the west coast of the United States. This is partly in response to the changing wind patterns and northerly/easterly wind flow in the region. Northerly and easterly winds can mix and cool the oceans.

In early June, the high pressure system strengthened and moved westward. This temporarily stabilized the developing anomaly through calmer weather and less sea-to-air heat transfer.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

The strongest anomalies moved eastward, removing cooler ocean temperatures off the northwest coast of the United States.

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In the North Pacific, the pattern changed by late June. Temporarily ending the dominance of the high pressure system, a strong low pressure system descended over the Aleutians.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

But this low pressure system also brought strong westerly and southerly winds to the region. Unlike the northerly and easterly winds that cool the sea surface, these winds help to temporarily warm it. The image below shows anomalous southerly winds around a low pressure system in the northeast Pacific.

The sea temperature anomaly at the end of June shows a clear warm anomaly “line” between the westerly and southerly wind regions. Along the west coast of the United States, you can see that the cold ocean anomalies are starting to weaken as the air and wind patterns change.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

Cause And Effect

In the temperature map below, you can see that the warmer temperatures are spreading towards the American Northwest Coast and the western Canadian coast. The picture below is from July 12.

The latest analysis below shows that temperatures around the northwest coast of the United States have increased as warm water pushes in from the west.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

Looking at the actual anomaly, we can see that the Northeast Pacific was unusually warm just a week ago. A new strong hotspot has emerged, with ocean temperatures 4°C above normal over a wide area.

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Analysis of the latest temperature anomaly suggests that the hotspot may have moved slightly south. But strong warm anomalies are now spreading across the North Pacific and East Asia.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

In the second week of July, a high pressure system returned to the North Pacific Ocean. It extends from East Asia to the west coast of North America. This is also the reason for the reappearance of persistently strong warm anomalies at the ocean surface.

NOAA’s Coral Reef Monitoring Program identified these anomalies as hotspots. NOAA regularly monitors ocean temperature and anomalies due to significant global impacts on marine ecosystems.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

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The Coral Bleaching Warning System has also detected a North Pacific heat wave and is on alert for coral bleaching. But this is not a concern, because the water there is so deep, there are no corals at surface level. But if there were, the temperatures would be dangerous for corals and their ecosystems over a wide area.

Temperature trends in the NOAA analysis also show strong warming in the North Pacific. Some of this increase in temperature is also seasonal, as it is the middle of Northern Hemisphere summer. But much of this increase is due to the development of oceanic heat waves driven by wind and pressure patterns.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

The change in temperature anomaly over the last 15 days also shows a warming trend, with the north and south experiencing slight cooling due to the change in winds.

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This is not the first heat wave in the North Pacific. There have been some powerful developments in recent years. There was one such event last July, when the maximum sea surface temperature was 6°C above normal. The image below shows ocean temperature anomalies during the July 2020 ocean heat wave.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

In 2014, another strong incident took place. A warm anomaly began to develop during the winter of 2013/2014. Yes, ocean heat waves can occur in winter. They are not defined by raw temperatures, but by deviations from normal anomalies.

These events can cause abnormally high sea temperatures, which can affect marine life year-round. This was just the beginning, as the Northeast Pacific remained warmer than normal in 2014.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

Evolution Of The Subsurface Equatorial Pacific Ocean Temperature During…

Another warm phase was observed at the same location in September of the same year. This whole pattern continued in 2014 and 2015. Warmer-than-normal waters are closer to the coast and also spread over a larger area. This ocean heat wave was much stronger than this year or last year, as the strong anomaly reached depths of more than 100 meters.

Below you can see a graph we created that shows the sea surface temperature anomaly in the North Pacific. As you can see, there are constant hot and cold phases. But over the past 10 years, we’ve been finding unusually strong warm phases in the North Pacific, manifesting as intense ocean heat waves.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

These warming events are associated with weather patterns, and we can detect a weak link between ocean heat waves and temperatures in the US and Canada. Below we have a map showing the relationship between ocean temperature and surface temperature in the North Pacific.

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It is immediately apparent that there is a strong correlation with warmth in the North Pacific, which is evident when we compare it. But it’s interesting to see the colder-than-normal anomaly across the central and eastern United States.

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

Below we have the temperature forecast for the next few days, and it is similar to what we saw in the analysis above. You may see cooler-than-normal temperatures in the south-central and eastern United States. Warm temperatures extend from the western United States to the northwestern United States and southern Canada.

It all has to do with the pressure patterns they create

Temperature Of The Pacific Ocean

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