Pacific "blob" setting record temperatures along Central Coast

Aug 13, 2015

Water temperatures off the Central Coast are hitting records this week. A buoy in the Monterey Bay registered 69 degrees on Wednesday, breaking the record of 68 degrees registered in late July, 2014.

A buoy positioned in the Monterey Bay registered 69 degrees on August 12, 2015, breaking an all-time record.
Credit NOAA

These temperatures are running well above normal by some ten degrees or more.

The warm conditions off our coast should not be confused with El Niño, which is the name given to of the warming of the equatorial Pacific. Our big pocket of warming off California has been referred to as "the blob."

Duane Dykema is the lead forecaster for the National Weather Service at Monterey Bay. He says the jury is still out on how The Blob may affect El Niño's ability to bring California a wet winter.

"There is some speculation that this warm blob of water off our coast will kind of act to reverse the effects of El Niño, so we may not see as much rain as we may otherwise see. Others speculate that it may help," said Dykema. "Because there isn't a lot of history to draw on, it's hard to speculate what the outcome will be."

Dykema said the last big El Niño year (1997-98) saw some warming of the waters off our coast, but nothing like we've been seeing lately.

Recent reports from NOAA climatologists have indicated that if the blob and the exceptionally strong El Niño team up, we could be in for massive flooding throughout portions of the state, mainly in Southern California. Some have referred to this as a "Godzilla El Niño."