How the Blob Is Warming BC’s Fjords

May 26, 2020

Since the 1950s, at least four of British Columbia’s fjords have warmed up to six times faster than the rest of the ocean, according to new data. One cause of the rampant warming is a marine heatwave known as the Blob that hit the northeast Pacific starting in 2013. About 3 C warmer than usual, this patch of water stretched all the way from Alaska to California.

According to 2017 Wall Scholar William Cheung, an Associate Professor and the Director (Science) of the Nippon Foundation-UBC Nereus Program at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, warm waters are a challenge for salmon off the B.C. coast. Cheung’s recent modelling work shows that in a marine heatwave year, the mass of sockeye salmon off the coast of Alaska and British Columbia is expected to decline by 10 per cent.

As a Wall Scholar, William Cheung explored the question: what are the effective ways to communicate to the public about future projections of our oceans and fisheries under climate change? Learn more about his research here.