Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 7703
Title: Present-day and future climate pathways affecting the harmful algal blooms species Alexandrium catenella in Puget Sound, WA, USA
Author: S. K. Moore, James A. Johnstone, N. S. Banas, Eric P. Salathe
Publication Year: 2015
Journal: Harmful Algae
Keywords: Alexandrium spp.,climate change,Puget Sound,

 This study uses a mechanistic modeling approach to evaluate the effects of various climate pathways on the toxin-producing dinoflagellate Alexandrium catenella in Puget Sound, WA, USA. Experimentally-derived A. catenella growth responses to environmental conditions are combined with simulations of the regional climate and Salish Sea hydrology to project future changes in the timing, duration, and extent of blooms. Coarse-grid (100-200 km) global climate model (GCM) ensemble simulations of the SRES A1B emissions scenario were regionally downscaled to a 12-km grid using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model for the period 1969-2069. These results were used to: 1) analyze the future potential changes and variability of coastal upwelling winds, and 2) provide forcing fields to a Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS) used to simulate the circulation and biophysics of the Salish Sea, including Puget Sound, and the coastal ocean. By comparing circa-1990 and circa-2050 climate scenarios for the environmental conditions that promote A. catenella blooms, we disentangle the effects of three climate pathways: 1) increased local atmospheric heating, 2) changing riverflow magnitude and timing, and 3) changing ocean inputs associated with changes in upwelling-favorable winds.


Theme: Sustainable, safe and secure seafood for healthy populations and vibrant communities
Foci: Provide scientific support to ensure safe seafood for healthy populations and characterize how human activities and climate affect risks from pathogens, chemical contaminants and biotoxins