Master's Presentation: Catherine Kohlman and Physical Oceanography Lunch Seminar 28 February 2024

Wednesday, February 28, 12:30 PM to 01:15 PM PST

MS Presentation: Catherine Kohlman

Title: The 2019 Marine Heatwave at Ocean Station Papa: A multi-disciplinary assessment of ocean conditions and impacts on marine ecosystems

Faculty Adviser: Meghan Cronin and LuAnne Thompson

Location: 123 Marine Science Building

Time: 12:30 PM

Abstract: In the past decade, two large marine heatwaves (MHWs) formed in the northeast Pacific near Ocean Station Papa (OSP), one of the oldest oceanic time series stations. Physical, biogeochemical, and biological parameters observed at OSP from 2013 to 2020 are used to assess ocean response and potential impacts on marine life from the 2019 northeast Pacific MHW. The 2019 MHW reached peak surface temperature anomalies in the summertime and had both coastal, impacting fisheries, and offshore consequences that could potentially affect multiple trophic levels in the Gulf of Alaska. In the Gulf of Alaska, the 2019 MHW was preceded by calm and stratified surface conditions, lower dissolved inorganic carbon, and higher pH of surface waters relative to the 2013-2020 period. A spike in the summertime chlorophyll followed by a decrease in surface macronutrients suggests increased productivity in the well-lit stratified upper ocean during summer 2019. More blue whale calls were recorded at OSP in 2019 compared to the prior year. Large subsurface temperature anomalies were also found, suggesting that the earlier northeast Pacific MHW (2013-2015, previously referred to as “Blob”) as well as the long-term increase in sea surface temperatures in the region contributed to the intensity of the 2019 MHW. This study shows how the utility of long-term, continuous oceanographic datasets and analysis with an interdisciplinary lens is necessary to understand the potential impact of MHWs on marine ecosystems.


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