Algae blooms happen every year around May, but this one is ridiculously large and long-lasting.
"The bloom is laced with some toxic species that have had far-reaching consequences for sea life and regional and local economies," according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Photo Above:
Part of the reason this bloom is worse than usual is because of a mysteriously large mass of warm water off the Pacific coast. The warmer the water, the more algae grow.
"It's just lurking there," Vera Trainer, research oceanographer with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Washington state, told Reuters. "It's the longest lasting, highest toxicity, and densest bloom that we've ever seen."
As you can see in the map below, the algae bloom stretches all the way from Alaska to California:
This year's bloom is so bad that we are seeing lots of animal deaths. At least nine fin whales were found dead in the waters off Alaska in June, according to Alaska Dispatch News, and in July reports of dead or dying whales, seals, birds, and fish have been rolling in according to NOAA. It's difficult to pin these deaths on the algae specifically, but signs are pointing to these toxins as the cause.