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    'The Blob' in Pacific Ocean linked to spike in ozone

    By Tia Ghose
    February 21, 2017, 3:26:40 PM EST

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    The Blob

    A warm blob of water lurking in the Pacific Ocean in 2014 and 2015 led to a spike in ozone levels across the western U.S., new research suggests.

    The blob of warm water, which sat about 310 miles (500 kilometers) off the Oregon coast, was linked to a high-pressure system in the atmosphere that resulted in warm, calm air and sunny skies across nearly a quarter of the country, said study co-author Dan Jaffe, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington Bothell.

    Those atmospheric conditions sped up the formation of ozone in the atmosphere, Jaffe added. (Ozone in the lower atmosphere is harmful to human health, while high in the atmosphere it forms a protective layer that shields the planet from harmful UV radiation.)

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