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Home » Focus Areas » Data Visualization » 2015 Summer Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly

2015 Summer Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly

Description

This visualization of sea surface temperature anomalies runs from June 25, 2015 through September 30, 2015. Blue areas are cooler than normal and red areas are warmer than normal, where normal is the average temperature from 1981 - 2010.

Importance

This video shows the effect of the Pacific Ocean marine heat wave, known as “The Blob,” on sea surface temperatures during the summer of 2015. Much warmer than normal waters can be seen in the Pacific Ocean during this time. Marine heat waves can stress fish and other organisms by raising ocean temperatures beyond their comfort zones. These marine heat waves can displace habitat for sea turtles, whales, and other marine life by 10’s to thousands of kilometers. To measure that temporary dislocation of ocean surface temperatures, which can in turn drive ecological changes, NOAA scientists have now introduced a new metric called “thermal displacement,” explained in this Physical Sciences Laboratory article.

Technical Backstory

An article about thermal displacement was published in the scientific journal Nature, and this visualization was created in support of that release for OAR communications. Archived images from the Science On a Sphere Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly dataset were used for this visualization.

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