The last time you went swimming at the Oregon coast, did you happen to drag a toe through a mysterious warm spot? Perhaps you at first thought it was something innocent, like pee. But as you continued to swim it just stayed warm, a huge area, and you must have thought to yourself, “Who peed here? Godzilla?”
Just me, huh?
The giant warm-water mass that has been camped out in the ocean just off the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington, which scientists have dubbed “The Blob,” may be the culprit to blame for California’s punishing drought. Or at least that’s what some are theorizing, and now OSU scientists are leading the charge to find out for sure.
The coolest part about this new charge is that you can actually help.
The project plans to run hundreds of computer model variations to figure out the effect of the Blob on our climate, and these models are so complex it would require three supercomputers just to crunch the numbers. So the researchers are crowd-sourcing some of the computer power needs to local citizens who want to volunteer to run simulations on their personal computers.
“It takes about a week to run a year-long unit of climate data and the program is set up to automatically feed the results back to the scientists. It’s a great way for the general public to help the scientific community investigate some of the climate variations we’re seeing,” said Phil Mote in a press release. Mote is the principal investigator on the project for OSU, and he’s the director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Center.
The drought afflicting parts of California, Oregon, and Washington has ranged in severity across the vast coast, but with Californians rationing water and no end in sight, this project is crucial in hopefully providing some answers that might lead to a solution. Also, I have family in California, and I certainly don’t want them moving here to avoid a dustbowl and camping out in my living room. So pitch in, won’t you?
If you’re interested in helping the investigation with your home computer, sign up at www.climateprediction.net/
By Sidney Reilly