A recent post on Enenews brought attention to the extremely warm water in the North Pacific.
There is a massive pool of warm water in the Gulf of Alaska, NOAA scientist Nate Mantua said in an email. It is unprecedented in the historical record, he added… the past year is way out of the historical range — “so who knows what will happen?”…
Scientists across NOAA Fisheries are watching a persistent expanse of exceptionally warm water spanning the Gulf of Alaska that could send reverberations through the marine food web. The warm expanse appeared about a year ago and the longer it lingers, the greater potential it has to affect ocean life… “Right now it’s super warm all the way across the Pacific to Japan,” said Bill Peterson, an oceanographer with NOAA.
These are certainly record high temperature levels. Bob Tisdale, a manmade climate change skeptic, has an excellent summary of this situation here.
This report here, by Howard Freeland and Frank Whitney, was linked to in the Enenews post.
In March 2014 there was something very unusual occurring in the Northeast (NE) Pacific that might have substantial consequences for biota in the Gulf of Alaska and southward into the subtropics… we see SST departures of 4.5 standard deviations… The anomaly field covers a large region of the N.E. Pacific… The authors of this article have never seen [such] deviations… Something as extraordinary as a 4.5-sigma deviation requires corroboration…
An increase of 4.5-sigma in sea surface temperatures is about one-fifth the probability of being dealt a straight flush in five-card poker, and twice the probability of being dealt a royal flush. In other words, it is wildly improbable that it is a result of a natural process.
The answer is that Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has releasing extremely radioactively contaminated water, starting in March 2011. The worst part was at the beginning. By early April 2011, humungous levels of iodine-131 and cesium-137 had been released.
Radioactive iodine at 7.5 MILLION times legal limit in water around Fukushima — Cesium-137 at 1.1 MILLION times limit
… Tokyo Electric Power Company says it detected 300,000 bequerels of iodine-131 per 1 cubic centimeter, or 7.5 million times higher than the legal limit in samples taken around the water intake of the No. 2 reactor at 11:50 AM on Saturday.
It also found 200,000 bequerels or 5 million times higher than the limit in samples taken at 9AM on Monday.
Monday’s sample also shows 1.1 million times higher than the national limit of cesium-137 whose half-life is 30 years. … (link)
300,000 becquerels per cubic centimeter detected in ocean water is 300 BILLION becquerels per square meter. Fukushima has been leaking ever since, but the worst of it occurred at the beginning of the catastrophe.
Models that predict the movement of particles in ocean water projected that it would move to the east, and be near North America by now:
Radionuclides give off heat by a process of radioactive decay. This is the reason that spent fuel rods have to be submerged in water, to keep them cool, so they don’t melt down. According to Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates:
Radioactive byproducts produce heat.
During the normal operation of a nuclear reactor, there is an accumulation of many man-made radioactive materials such as iodine-131, cesium-137, strontium-90, plutonium-239, and many others.
These radioactive byproducts continue to produce a lot of heat, even after the reactor is shut down, because radioactivity cannot be stopped. This unstoppable heat is called “decay heat.”
This decay heat occurs whether the radionuclides are in a reactor, in a spent fuel pool, or leaked into the sea. So it stands to reason that ocean temperatures would be extraordinarily high.
As you can see, the warm ocean plume is still moving to the east. The warm water itself creates a crisis for sea life, the salinity has dropped, and the winds that bring nutrients from the northern areas are blocked. From Freeland and Whitney,
Wind anomalies (Fig. 2a) show the cause of the warm anomalies in the ocean’s surface layer to be an unusual flow from the south as the North Pacific high pressure cell expanded northward. This pattern disrupted the path of the westerly winds that cross the subarctic Pacific, winds that normally transport nutrients from the subarctic North Pacific into the subtropics during winter… Without nutrients from the subarctic, the productivity of subtropical waters must decline.
An ecological crisis in the Pacific is launched, simply from the warm water, even not regarding the deadly radiation itself. It affects life in areas far away from the contaminated waters through changes in the wind patterns.
“As temperature rises, the zooplankton start to grow faster than the phytoplankton,” O’Connor explains. “The zooplankton are more abundant and faster-growing, and are able to eat all the phytoplankton in warmer water. This creates a bottleneck in the food chain that could have large implications for the ocean’s food web. (link)
Phytoplankton contribute up to 50% of the planet’s oxygen supply.
And this warm water is already profoundly affecting the climate of North America. The 500 mb geopotential height represents the temperature of the air at 18,000 feet. High values of this height (a ridge) correspond to warm temperatures, and low values (a trough) to cold.
Warm heights mean that the air is sinking, and little or no precipitation forms, and the surface air temperature is warm. Cold heights mean higher precipitation and cold surface temperatures. Air moves clockwise around the ridge, pushing north into the Arctic, where it pushes down cold air from these regions to the eastern US.
Last winter featured warm and dry conditions in the west, while the east had a cold and snowy winter. This is likely to happen again this coming winter.
And the ridge in the west has caused drought conditions in California:
The contaminated water will not move out for many years, but decay heat release will continue, so look for Pacific sea surface temperatures to keep increasing, and the drought to continue.