Pacific Ocean Boundary Ecosystem &
Climate - [
Using US and international observational datasets combined with physical and biological models, this project investigates the mechanisms of climate-related variability in three Pacific boundary ecosystems: Gulf of Alaska (GOA) and California Current System (CCS) referred to as the Northeast Pacific (NEP), the Humboldt or Peru-Chile Current System (PCCS), and the Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension (KOE) region. - [ OpenDAP data access ]
Pacific Ocean Decadal Variability & Climate Change - [
This project aims to understand the mechanics of the natural low-frequency modes of Pacific variability and how they are expected to respond to anthropogenic climate change. The first research goal of this proposal is to assess how the dynamics and statistics of the Canonical ENSO, Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the central Pacific warming (CPW) ENSO and North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO) modes are represented in the IPCC AR4 and AR5 coupled climate models during the 20th century, and how these dynamics and statistics are projected to evolve under continued greenhouse forcing during the 21st century. The second research goal of this proposal is to identify and quantify the statistical significance of any anthropogenic changes in CPW/NPGO variance with respect to natural variability, and identify the specific dynamics responsible for the CPW/NPGOʼs response to climate change. This project brings together a diverse group of climate scientists that pursue these research goals using a wide range of methodologies designed to isolate, quantify and diagnose the effects of anthropogenic forcing on Pacific decadal climate variability. These methodologies include (a) linear inverse statistical techniques to examine the IPCC models (Di Lorenzo, Anderson, Schneider), (b) annually-resolved multi-proxy climate reconstructions over the last 300 years to examine the range of decadal and secular variations of the climate modes (Cobb, Di Lorenzo), and (c) targeted coupled climate model experiments to isolate specific mechanisms of the low-frequency modesʼ responses to climate change (Vimont, Alexander). Overall, improved understanding of the historical, current, and future evolution of the NPGO and PDO will provide significantly enhanced predictability of decadal-scale variations that influence global weather and climate patterns, as well as marine ecosystems.
Low Frequency Variability in the North Pacific - [
Decadal fluctuations in salinity, nutrients, chlorophyll, a variety of zooplankton taxa, and fish stocks in the Northeast Pacific are often poorly correlated with the most widely-used index of large-scale climate variability in the region - the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). We define a new pattern of climate change, the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO) and show that its variability is significantly correlated with previously unexplained fluctuations of salinity, nutrients and chlorophyll. The NPGO pattern extends beyond the North Pacific and is part of a global-scale mode of climate variability that is evident in global sea level trends and sea surface temperature. This projects uses a combination of high resolution ocean modeling ensembles and observational data to explore the physical mechanisms that are responsible for decadal-scale physical and ecosystem variations, which to date remain unclear. -
California Current Ecosystem - [
The California Current System is a coastal upwelling biome, as found along the eastern margins of all major ocean basins. These are among the most productive ecosystems in the world ocean. The California Current Ecosystem LTER is investigating nonlinear transitions in the California Current coastal pelagic ecosystem, with particular attention to long-term forcing by a secular warming trend, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and El Nino in altering the structure and dynamics of the pelagic ecosystem. The California Current sustains active fisheries for a variety of finfish and marine invertebrates, modulates weather patterns and the hydrologic cycle of much of the western United States, and plays a vital role in the economy of myriad coastal communities.
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