Mogen, S. C., Lovenduski, N. S., Dallmann, A. R., Gregor, L., Sutton, A. J., Bograd, S. J., Quiros, N. C., Di Lorenzo, E., Hazen, E. L., Jacox, M. G., Buil, M. P., & Yeager, S. (2022). Ocean Biogeochemical Signatures of the North Pacific Blob. Geophysical Research Letters, 49(9), e2021GL096938. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021GL096938
The global ocean is experiencing major changes due to human-made carbon emissions and climate change, leading to a warming ocean with increasing acidity and declining oxygen. On top of these long-term changes in the ocean are short-term extreme events, such as marine heatwaves. These extreme events quickly change the ocean state and can stress marine ecosystems in multiple ways. The Northeast Pacific marine heat wave (2013–2016) was one such marine heatwave. Here we focus on the early portion of this marine heatwave, called the “Blob”. While the ocean temperature changes during the event are well understood, the effects on ocean biogeochemistry have not been fully examined. In this study, a simulation of the Blob was performed to examine short-term changes in oxygen and acidity. The authors find that the warming signal leads to a decline in the effects of ocean acidification, mainly due to changes in the movement of carbon, and lowers the amount of oxygen, due primarily to temperature-driven effects. These results suggest that some effects of climate change may be exacerbated (warming) or mitigated (ocean acidification) by marine heatwaves.