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Giant Red ‘Blob’ Suddenly Appears Off Coast Of New Zealand On Weather Map

by : Cameron Frew on : 28 Dec 2019 12:16
New Zealand Red BlobNew Zealand Red BlobClimate Reanalyzer

Off the coast of New Zealand, there’s an au naturel hot tub brewing with a red blob appearing on the weather map. 

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This blob creates a terrifying satellite image, sticking out like a sore thumb amid a sea of cool blues and moderate oranges.

But don’t worry too much: this isn’t an alarming sign of climate change ramping up. In fact, according to Professor James Renwick, a weather and climate researcher at Victoria University, it’s a rather simple event that takes place in the ocean.

New Zealand Pacific OceanNew Zealand Pacific OceanPA

The hotspot in the southern reaches of the Pacific Ocean, stretching across tens of thousands of square kilometres, is well above its average temperatures of between 10C and 15C – rising to as high as 20C, currently one of the warmest sea spots on the planet.

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The central hot spot is close to the size of the North Island (114,000 sq km) or the South Island (150,000 sq km) – with the wider area bigger than both islands combined.

New Zealand Climate Re-AnalyserNew Zealand Climate Re-AnalyserClimateReanalyzer

Explaining the strange phenomenon, Renwick told the NZ Herald

It’s just a patch of water that’s had a lot of sunny skies and not much wind. Sea temperatures don’t actually vary too much and a degree, plus or minus, is quite a big deal and this area is probably four degrees or more than that above average and that’s pretty huge.

Right in the centre of the ‘blob’ it’s likely to be more than six degrees warmer than average. It’s extremely warm water in terms of differences from average, it’s got to be one of the warmest spots on the planet at the moment.

With a temperature of 20C, the blob is rivalling the waters of the Tropics, which can reach 30C. However, it’s far from the biting harshness of the Arctic Ocean, where water freezes at -2C because of salt content.

Pacific Ocean New ZealandPacific Ocean New ZealandPA

Around the east of New Zealand, Renwick said that the water had been experiencing ‘quite high pressures, sunny skies, light winds, so the surface of the ocean would warm up quite quickly’.

Renwick added: 

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But if the winds are strong then it gets all stirred up. If it’s not being stirred enough, the warming from the sun and so on will just be absorbed at the surface of the ocean where you get this quite thin layer of very warm water, so what I’m wondering is, how deep is this very warm blob?

While the blob is massive, the professor doesn’t reckon it will maintain its temperature long enough to reach the coasts of South America.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, New Zealand, Pacific Ocean, Sealife, Temperatures, weather

Credits

NZ Herald and 1 other
  1. NZ Herald

    The 'hot blob' off the New Zealand coast: All you need to know

  2. Climate Reanalyzer

    Today's Weather Maps