16 Observations of the Interaction Between a Storm and the North Pacific Warm Anomaly, aka The Blob

Monday, 15 August 2016
Grand Terrace (Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center)
Larry W. O'Neill, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR; and B. Phillips

At the end of 2013, a warm anomaly formed in the North Pacific, colloquially known as “the blob,” in possible response to a persistent ridge of high pressure and lull in storm activity. In September 2014, a strong early season extratropical cyclone passed directly over the blob. Satellite SST and ARGO float measurements showed a strong cooling of SST and mixed layer temperature of approximately 3-4°C immediately following storm passage. The mixed layer deepened from 20 meters to 45 meters. Most of the warm SST signature associated with the blob completely vanished by this single storm. Time-longitude plots further indicated that the warm SST signature associated only partially re-emerged approximately 4 months later. The blob did not fully appear again at the surface until August 2015, 11 months later. This analysis uses satellite wind, SST, rain, surface heat fluxes, and SSH observations, along with ARGO float profiles of temperature and salinity, to investigate how the storm affected the blob, and the processes contributing to its eventual re-emergence the following year.
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