Did You Know? Elephant Seals Tracking THE BLOB!

Male elephant seal swimming

Researchers at UC Santa Cruz put sensors on seals that record depth, temperature and salinity while the migrated some 6,000 miles across the North Pacific.

The data collected by the seals brings ‘The Blob’—a warm-water heat wave in the Pacific from late 2013-2015—was deeper and much more extensive than previously reported. This deep warming lingered into 2017, well after surface temperatures had returned to normal.

“The elephant seals collect data in different locations than existing oceanographic platforms,” explained senior author Christopher Edwards, a professor of ocean sciences at UC Santa Cruz. “This is an underutilized dataset that can inform us about important oceanographic processes, as well as helping biologists understand the ecology of northern elephant seals.”