Multivariate ocean-climate indicators (MOCI) for the central California Current: Environmental change, 1990-2010

TitleMultivariate ocean-climate indicators (MOCI) for the central California Current: Environmental change, 1990-2010
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSydeman WJ, Thompson S.A, Garcia-Reyes M., Kahru M, Peterson W.T, Largier J.L
JournalProgress in Oceanography
Date Published2014/01
Type of ArticleReview
ISBN Number0079-6611
Accession NumberWOS:000331019300022
Keywordscoop-west; current system; el-nino; equatorial; Fisheries management; la-nina; marine ecosystems; northeast pacific; pacific; rockfish sebastes; variability

Temporal environmental variability may confound interpretations of management actions, such as reduced fisheries mortality when Marine Protected Areas are implemented. To aid in the evaluation of recent ecosystem protection decisions in central-northern California, we designed and implemented multivariate ocean-climate indicators (MOCI) of environmental variability. To assess the validity of the MOCI, we evaluated interannual and longer-term variability in relation to previously recognized environmental variability in the region, and correlated MOCI to a suite of biological indicators including proxies for lower- (phytoplankton, copepods, krill), and upper-level (seabirds) taxa. To develop the MOCI, we selected, compiled, and synthesized 14 well-known atmospheric and oceanographic indicators of large-scale and regional processes (transport and upwelling), as well as local atmospheric and oceanic response variables such as wind stress, sea surface temperature, and salinity. We derived seasonally-stratified MOCI using principal component analysis. Over the 21-year study period (1990-2010), the ENSO cycle weakened while extra-tropical influences increased with a strengthening of the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO) and cooling of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Correspondingly, the Northern Oscillation Index (NOI) strengthened, leading to enhanced upwelling-favorable wind stress and cooling of air and ocean surface temperatures. The seasonal MOCI related well to subarctic copepod biomass and seabird productivity, but poorly to chlorophyll-a concentration and krill abundance. Our results support a hypothesis of enhanced sub-arctic influence (transport from the north) and upwelling intensification in north-central California over the past two decades. Such environmental conditions may favor population growth for species with sub-arctic zoogeographic affinities within the central-northern California Current coastal ecosystem. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Short TitleProg. Oceanogr.
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