State of the California Current 2013-14: El Nino looming

TitleState of the California Current 2013-14: El Nino looming
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsLeising A.W, Schroeder I.D, Bograd SJ, Bjorkstedt E.P, Field J., Sakuma K., Abell J., Robertson R.R, Tyburczy J., Peterson W.T, Brodeur R., Barcelo C., Auth T.D, Daly E.A, Campbell G.S, Hildebrand JA, Suryan R.M, Gladics A.J, Horton C.A, Kahru M, Manzano-Sarabia M., McClatchie S., Weber E.D, Watson W, Santora J.A, Sydeman WJ, Melin S.R, Delong R.L, Largier J., Kim S.Y, Chavez F.P, Golightly R.T, Schneider S.R, Warzybok P., Bradley R., Jahncke J., Fisher J., Peterson J.
JournalCalifornia Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations Reports
Date Published2014/12
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0575-3317
Accession NumberWOS:000346192400004
Keywordsanomalies; coast; community; current system; northeast pacific; oceanographic conditions; oregon; pelagic juvenile rockfish; southern california; variability

In 2013, the California current was dominated by strong coastal upwelling and high productivity. Indices of total cumulative upwelling for particular coastal locations reached some of the highest values on record. Chlorophyll a levels were high throughout spring and summer. Catches of upwelling-related fish species were also high. After a moderate drop in upwelling during fall 2013, the California current system underwent a major change in phase. Three major basin-scale indicators, the PDO, the NPGO, and the ENSO-MEI, all changed phase at some point during the winter of 2013/14. The PDO changed to positive values, indicative of warmer waters in the North Pacific; the NPGO to negative values, indicative of lower productivity along the coast; and the MEI to positive values, indicative of an oncoming El Nino. Whereas the majority of the California Current system appears to have transitioned to an El Nino state by August 2014, based on decreases in upwelling and chlorophyll a concentration, and increases in SST, there still remained pockets of moderate upwelling, cold water, and high chlorophyll a biomass at various central coast locations, unlike patterns seen during the more major El Ninos (e.g., the 97-98 event). Catches of rockfish, market squid, euphausiids, and juvenile sanddab remained high along the central coast, whereas catches of sardine and anchovy were low throughout the CCS. 2014 appears to be heading towards a moderate El Nino state, with some remaining patchy regions of upwelling-driven productivity along the coast. Superimposed on this pattern, three major regions have experienced possibly non-El Nino-related warming since winter: the Bering Sea, the Gulf of Alaska, and offshore of southern California. It is unclear how this warming may interact with the predicted El Nino, but the result will likely be reduced growth or reproduction for many key fisheries species.

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