Anchorage 1/25/17, Hotel Captain Cook
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With no poster sessions, there was a chance for scientists to do more socializing and networking after the symposium. There were several receptions. The one we went to was for people interested in “the blob” and what it might indicate for the future in Alaska waters. Warmer water species are already expanding their ranges northwards, and it remains to be seen how well they will survive the winters at these latitudes.
What’s left of the blob is much to the north, almost hugging the coast below the Alaska Peninsula.
Nobody seems ready to speculate if there is any relationship between the Sea Surface Temperature warm anomaly known as “the blob” in the Gulf of Alaska and the SST warm anomaly in the southeastern Bering Sea.
The warming in the Bering Sea is getting farther north faster than any scientist expected. The past couple of weeks of cold winds from the north may be the best possible news for fish in the Bering. It is sending the ice cover farther south, and if it holds for a while it will hold down the temperature of the water underneath it this coming spring, likely leading to more of the kind of plankton that make fish happy.
Veteran NOAA oceanographer Phyllis Stabeno says she was surprised to see such warm temperatures over the past three years with instruments moored along the continental shelf in the Bering Sea. And this warm water reached all the way to the northernmost mooring and mixed all the way to the sea bottom there. She had thought the change wouldn’t come that far north until some decades later.