Presentation Abstract

Understanding impacts of climate change on Salish Sea water quality is critical yet challenging due to the complexity, strength and diversity of influences on circulation and mixing. Different extreme climate conditions in recent years (2014-2017) include record warm temperatures with reduced snow pack in 2014-2015 followed by a few years of alternating summer droughts with record rainy seasons. These conditions influenced marine water temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen (DO) throughout the Salish Sea. Analyses reveal distinct differences in these key physical and chemical characteristics between Strait of Juan de Fuca sites and sites within Puget Sound basins. Extremely low DO water in the Strait not observed at neighboring sites in Puget Sound. This indicates that Puget Sound water exchange and circulation are responding to climate change impacts on the regional hydrological cycle. Lower stream flows are effecting seasonal exchange of ocean water masses under drought conditions, while extremely wet and stormy springs are changing the average salinity of Puget Sound basins and impacting the density structure. Following these physical fluctuations, DO conditions vary from season to season, with new anomalous lows occurring in the Strait and the extreme reaches of South Puget Sound. These conditions could reveal how biophysical drivers of Puget Sound water quality impact food web dynamics during adverse climate and ocean regimes. Local water quality issues that are exacerbated due to reduced circulation may be influencing distinct populations in different basins. We can use these basic biophysical properties to inform us about key drivers of regional differences in the Puget Sound food web.

Session Title

Response of Water-Column Processes and Pelagic Organisms to Long-term Change

Keywords

Climate change, Water mass, Marine water quality, Dissoved oxygen, Temperature, Salinity

Conference Track

SSE16: Long-Term Monitoring of Salish Sea Ecosystems

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE16-589

Start Date

5-4-2018 3:45 PM

End Date

5-4-2018 4:00 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 3:45 PM Apr 5th, 4:00 PM

Recent conditions highlight regional differences in temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen between Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound sites under anomalous 2014-2017 climate patterns

Understanding impacts of climate change on Salish Sea water quality is critical yet challenging due to the complexity, strength and diversity of influences on circulation and mixing. Different extreme climate conditions in recent years (2014-2017) include record warm temperatures with reduced snow pack in 2014-2015 followed by a few years of alternating summer droughts with record rainy seasons. These conditions influenced marine water temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen (DO) throughout the Salish Sea. Analyses reveal distinct differences in these key physical and chemical characteristics between Strait of Juan de Fuca sites and sites within Puget Sound basins. Extremely low DO water in the Strait not observed at neighboring sites in Puget Sound. This indicates that Puget Sound water exchange and circulation are responding to climate change impacts on the regional hydrological cycle. Lower stream flows are effecting seasonal exchange of ocean water masses under drought conditions, while extremely wet and stormy springs are changing the average salinity of Puget Sound basins and impacting the density structure. Following these physical fluctuations, DO conditions vary from season to season, with new anomalous lows occurring in the Strait and the extreme reaches of South Puget Sound. These conditions could reveal how biophysical drivers of Puget Sound water quality impact food web dynamics during adverse climate and ocean regimes. Local water quality issues that are exacerbated due to reduced circulation may be influencing distinct populations in different basins. We can use these basic biophysical properties to inform us about key drivers of regional differences in the Puget Sound food web.