The John James Newsletter 232

posted Jun 10, 2018, 4:25 PM by Clement Clarke
The John James Newsletter 232

30 May 2018  

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New Zealand 'marine heatwave' brings tropical fish from 3,000km away

Six months ago, in a December Newsletter, I warned of this localised heatwave.  These heated pools have been called ‘blobs’ and display severe warmth at the ocean surface. They have, during recent years, fuelled all kinds of climate change-related extreme weather ranging from droughts to floods to bushfires to record hurricanes. This is an extreme climate and severe weather-triggering feature. One that has also been associated with strong, persistent atmospheric ridges and related high pressure systems. 

One has lain dormant off the coast of California and brought more than three years of drought culminating in the horrendous bushfires this summer.

Now we have our own. It is already having an impact, though we, in the south coast of 
Australia, are seeing a daily struggle between the heat drifting in from the oceans and the cold moving down from the nearby mountains with warm air and cold air ‘lapping’ over each other. 
The birds have shifted like the tropical fish, more people are swimming in the warming water, and as for the numbers of rodents and flies! 

Most global warming has ended in the oceans, and now the great currents are moving that around and, it appears, depositing it in the areas like the Tasman Sea. 

One wonders what this will do to the predators that live off our fruit and vegetables following a population explosion during the winter. One wonders how this will affect our coming bushfire season. One wonders how it will affect those pests that seldom stray further south than Brisbane, the cane toad and mosquitos carrying Lyme’s disease. What do we plant to deal with these things and can we do so without using more poisons? Are we using the right crops and are we dealing with the heat-loving pests in the right way? These are all questions of survival.

And more urgently, what will this oceanic heat do to the melting of the Antarctic? Do we not see the very real possibility that sea level rise will be speeded up? Will not this blob of heat affect the atmosphere to produce more intense storms? With the possibility that cyclonic conditions that used to be found in northern Queensland will move further south into our area? And if they do, what further intensification will be happening in the north? All issues are becoming more and more uncertain, and our ability to respond will be compromised by our greater personal stress – not good!

This is a foretaste of the unexpected consequences of heating the planet. The process is not linear and therefore extremely hard to plan for in advance. But right now, here, we can watch it developing as it must, in the not-so-longterm, and in its own way everywhere.

New Zealand 'marine heatwave' brings tropical fish from 3,000km away
Out-of-place Queensland groper seen off New Zealand coast after water temperatures soared as much as six degrees in some areas. Rare tropical fish from Australia have been spotted in New Zealand waters after a record-breaking hot summer and warm ocean temperatures lured the creatures across the Tasman sea more than 3,000 kilometres away from its usual cruising spots on the coral reefs and estuaries off the Queensland coast.

The Blob That Cooked the Pacific
When a deadly patch of warm water shocked the West Coast, some feared it was a preview of our future oceans. In the past few years death had become a bigger part of life in the ocean off North America’s West Coast. Hundreds of thousands of ocean-feeding seabirds tumbled dead onto beaches. Twenty times more sea lions than average starved in California.   West Coast waters grew so astonishingly hot that the marine world experienced unprecedented upheaval. Animals showed up in places they’d never been. A toxic bloom of algae, the biggest of its kind on record, shut down California’s crab industry for months. Key portions of the food web crashed. Was it a “dress rehearsal” —a preview of what hotter seas may bring as climate change unleashes its fever in the Pacific?

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