San Jose Mercury News, Nov. 2, 2014: Rare changes in wind patterns this fall have caused the Pacific Ocean off California and the West Coast to warm to historic levels, drawing in a bizarre menagerie of warm-water species. The mysterious phenomena are surprising fishermen… El Niño isn’t driving this year’s warm-water spike… Nor is climate change… All year [NOAA] scientists… have been forecasting an El Niño… But now the water is only slightly warmer than normal at the equator, leading scientists to declare a mild El Niño is on the way… The ocean changes also have affected birds. As ocean upwelling stalled in the summer, less krill and other food rose from the depths. As a result, several species of birds, including common murres, had high rates of egg failure on the Farallon Islands, 27 miles west of San Francisco.
Jaime Jahncke, California Current Group director of Point Blue in Petaluma, Nov. 2, 2014: “The krill that is usually present disappeared, and the fish that some of these birds rely on disappeared… Up until July we had an abundance of whales around the Farallons, mostly humpback whales, and some blue whales. And when we went back in September, there was no krill and the whales were nearly absent.”
Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Federation of Fishermen’s Associations in San Francisco, Nov. 2, 2014: “Our guys in Santa Barbara are saying there’s almost nothing down there. Just a lot of warm, clear water, a little bit of salmon and not much else.”
Joe Welsh, associate curator of collecting for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Nov. 2, 2014: “It is an oddball year… There’s a lot to learn out there.”
See also: Experts: Scary problems off California — Possibly “no food anywhere” along Pacific coast, except isolated areas — “Like crime scene investigation” in ocean — Certainly Fukushima is one of stresses to sea life — Dolphins, whales more likely to be bathed in radiation (VIDEO)
And: Gov't Scientists: "Something very unusual occurring" off west coast of US, Canada -- "Unprecedented in historical record" -- "Will dramatically reduce productivity" in 6,500 sq. miles of ocean -- Anomaly extends "across Pacific to Japan" -- "Who knows what will happen?" (MAP)
Published: November 4th, 2014 at 8:14 am ET