The Pacific Ocean may have entered a new warm phase — and the consequences could be dramaticTwo new studies have just hit about the “warm blob” in the northeast Pacific ocean — a 2 degree C or more temperature anomaly that began in the winter of 2013-2014 in the Gulf of Alaska and later expanded. Scientists have been astonished at the extent and especially the long-lasting nature of the warmth, with one NOAA researcher saying, “when you see something like this that’s totally new you have opportunities to learn things you were never expecting.” The Post’s Sarah Kaplan has covered some of the most immediate consequences of the “blob,” such as weird appearances of strange marine species more typical of warm water, like ocean sunfish, off the Alaskan coast. She also notes that the blob may be linked to the California drought and other odd weather phenomena. That’s plenty dramatic enough — but in truth, there is a great deal more to say about what this phenomenon may mean in a global climate context. You see, the 2013-2014 “blob” was just the beginning. In the summer of 2014, warm water also showed up off the California coast. And then, in the fall of last year, “a major change in the wind and weather pattern between Hawaii and the West Coast caused the two warm blobs to merge and expand to fill the entire northeast Pacific Ocean,” says Nate Mantua of NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, a co-author of one of the new studies, by e-mail. According to Mantua, the emergence of the new and consolidated “blob” may be a very significant development with global consequences. That’s because it may relate to a much larger pattern of ocean temperatures called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO. A shift in this oscillation, in turn, may be a sign that the planet is on the verge of getting warmer, some scientists say. FULL REPORT