Saturday, April 18, 2015

Shifting Pattern

A massive swath of unusually warm water has settled off the coast of North America since early 2014. Ocean surface water temperatures are about 1° to 4° Celsius (2° to 7° Fahrenheit) above the mean.
"In the fall of 2013 and early 2014 we started to notice a big, almost circular mass of water that just didn’t cool off as much as it usually did, so by spring of 2014 it was warmer than we had ever seen it for that time of year."
— Nick Bond, Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean
Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly, March 2015, NASA Earth Observatory

Significantly warmer ocean temperatures, dubbed "The Blob" by climate scientist Nick Bond, seem linked to weather anomalies across North America.

Scientists hypothesize that the persistently warmer ocean temperatures over the past 15 months could be causing a range of phenomena from stressing Northwest salmon and steelhead trout populations to supplying a pipeline of moisture that fed record-breaking East Coast snowstorms.
"Men argue. Nature acts."
Voltaire (1694 – 1778)
Natural phenomena are often characterized as a continuous process, by a state of continuous change, or by evolutionary adaptations. As humans observing and collecting data from the world around us, we establish and recognize patterns that enable us to distinguish anomalous changes from expected changes.

Shifting patterns are a leading indicator of larger systemic changes that demand our attention.
"Are humans any smarter than frogs in a pot? If you put a frog in a pot and slowly turn up the heat, it won't jump out. Instead, it will enjoy the nice warm bath until it is cooked to death. We humans seem to be doing pretty much the same thing."
Jeff Goodell