If you haven’t seen this already on the news — and it really is newsworthy — the Blue Whales have returned to the coast off southern California. These are the largest mammals on the planet and were almost hunted to extinction for their blubber, but it seems their numbers are slowly increasing again, and it must be pretty exciting to see these huge creatures suddenly leap out of the ocean waters with a great spray and splash. Twenty tons of whale leaping into the air. Pretty amazing.
Why have they returned to this part of the ocean? Ah, there is another part of the story. Blue Whales eat krill which are tiny little creatures that thrive in COLD water. Right now, the water off SoCal is the coldest it has been in a long, long time. Um… does this ring a bell for you? Ever heard of “La Nina?” Of course you have. It’s a circulation of cold water in the Pacific — the opposite of the “El Nino.” Unfortunately, when La Nina appears, dry weather in Texas comes along with it. A La Nina is not a particularly happy climate signal for the Lone Star State. (And please do note that the nickname is the “Lone Star State,” not the “Long Horn State,” as an uninformed New York writer put it recently.)
So, while it’s exciting to see the magnificent Blue Whales, it’s also a bit of a downer to contemplate that upwelling of all that cold water off the California coast. Great for the whales. Maybe not so great for us. At any rate, here’s the video. Enjoy.