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Map showing a marine heat wave known as "the blob" which spread across the northeastern Pacific Ocean from 2014 to 2016. Image: Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory, Data: Coral Reef Watch

Modeling “the blob” in the Salish Sea

In late 2013, a marine heatwave that scientists dubbed “the blob” began warming the ocean throughout the Northeast Pacific, causing temperatures to rise almost 3°C above normal. The disruption severely depressed salmon returns. Whales, sea lions and seabirds starved, and warm water creatures were suddenly being spotted off the coast of Alaska. In Puget Sound, temperatures also jumped, but the effects of the blob …

Maps generated from the Salish Sea Model showing surface layer transport in the Northwest Straits (left) and sea surface salinity (right). Images: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

PSI launches Salish Sea Modeling Center

The Puget Sound Institute is launching a new program that will use supercomputers to advance ecosystem recovery of the Salish Sea. The Salish Sea Modeling Center will allow scientists from around the region to access sophisticated computer models to predict changes in the ecosystem. Work at the center will tackle vexing environmental problems such as …