CAFA Publications

Publications from CAFA funded projects. Sort by year, title, or project to view publications.

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Thermal Displacement By Marine Heatwaves

Project: From physics to fisheries: A social-ecological management strategy evaluation for the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem
Year: 2020

Author(s): Jacox, M.G., Alexander, M.A., Bograd, S.J. et al


Project PI: Jacox
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2534-z

Marine heatwaves (MHWs)—discrete but prolonged periods of anomalously warm ocean temperatures—can drastically alter ocean ecosystems, with profound ecological and socioeconomic impacts1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Considerable effort has been directed at understanding the patterns, drivers and trends of MHWs globally9,10,11. Typically, MHWs are characterized on the basis of their intensity and persistence at a given location—an approach that is particularly relevant for corals and other sessile organisms that must endure increased temperatures. However, many ecologically and commercially important marine species respond to environmental disruptions by relocating to favourable habitats, and dramatic range shifts of mobile marine species are among the conspicuous impacts of MHWs1,4,12,13. Whereas spatial temperature shifts have been studied extensively in the context of long-term warming trends14,15,16,17,18, they are unaccounted for in existing global MHW analyses. Here we introduce thermal displacement as a metric that characterizes MHWs by the spatial shifts of surface temperature contours, instead of by local temperature anomalies, and use an observation-based global sea surface temperature dataset to calculate thermal displacements for all MHWs from 1982 to 2019. We show that thermal displacements during MHWs vary from tens to thousands of kilometres across the world’s oceans and do not correlate spatially with MHW intensity. Furthermore, short-term thermal displacements during MHWs are of comparable magnitude to century-scale shifts inferred from warming trends18, although their global spatial patterns are very different. These results expand our understanding of MHWs and their potential impacts on marine species, revealing which regions are most susceptible to thermal displacement, and how such shifts may change under projected ocean warming. The findings also highlight the need for marine resource management to account for MHW-driven spatial shifts, which are of comparable scale to those associated with long-term climate change and are already happening.

The Response Of The Northwest Atlantic Ocean To Climate Change

Project: From physics to fisheries: A social-ecological management strategy evaluationfor the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem
Year: 2020

Author(s): Alexander, M. A., S. Shin, J. D. Scott, E. Curchitser, C. Stock


Project PI: Jacox
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-19-0117.1

ROMS, a high-resolution regional ocean model, was used to study how climate change may affect the northwestern Atlantic Ocean. A control (CTRL) simulation was conducted for the recent past (1976–2005), and simulations with additional forcing at the surface and lateral boundaries, obtained from three different global climate models (GCMs) using the RCP8.5 scenario, were conducted to represent the future (2070–99). The climate change response was obtained from the difference between the CTRL and each of the three future simulations. All three ROMS simulations indicated large increases in sea surface temperatures (SSTs) over most of the domain except off the eastern U.S. seaboard resulting from weakening of the Gulf Stream. There are also substantial intermodel differences in the response, including a southward shift of the Gulf Stream in one simulation and a slight northward shift in the other two, with corresponding changes in eddy activity. The depth of maximum warming varied among the three simulations, resulting in differences in the bottom temperature response in coastal regions, including the Gulf of Maine and the West Florida Shelf. The surface salinity decreased in the northern part of the domain and increased in the south in all three experiments, although the freshening extended much farther south in one ROMS simulation relative to the other two, and also relative to the GCM that provided the large-scale forcing. Thus, while high resolution allows for a better representation of currents and bathymetry, the response to climate change can vary considerably depending on the large-scale forcing.

Changes To The Structure And Function Of An Albacore Fishery Reveal Shifting Social–Ecological Realities For Pacific Northwest Fishermen

Project: From physics to fisheries: A social-ecological management strategy evaluation for the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem
Year: 2020

Author(s): Frawley T. H. et al


Project PI: Jacox
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12519

Marine fisheries around the globe are increasingly exposed to external drivers of social and ecological change. Though diversification and flexibility have historically helped marine resource users negotiate risk and adversity, much of modern fisheries management treats fishermen as specialists using specific gear types to target specific species. Here, we describe the evolution of harvest portfolios amongst Pacific Northwest fishermen over 35+ years with explicit attention to changes in the structure and function of the albacore (Thunnus alalunga, Scombridae) troll and pole-and-line fishery. Our analysis indicates that recent social–ecological changes have had heterogenous impacts upon the livelihood strategies favoured by different segments of regional fishing fleets. As ecological change and regulatory reform have restricted access to a number of fisheries, many of the regional small (<45 ft) and medium (45–60 ft) boat fishermen who continue to pursue diverse livelihood strategies have increasingly relied upon the ability to opportunistically target albacore in coastal waters while retaining more of the value generated by such catch. In contrast, large vessels (>60 ft) targeting albacore are more specialized now than previously observed, even as participation in multiple fisheries has become increasingly common for this size class. In describing divergent trajectories associated with the albacore fishery, one of the US West Coast's last open-access fisheries, we highlight the diverse strategies and mechanisms utilized to sustain fisheries livelihoods in the modern era while arguing that alternative approaches to management and licensing may be required to maintain the viability of small-scale fishing operations worldwide moving forward.Marine fisheries around the globe are increasingly exposed to external drivers of social and ecological change. Though diversification and flexibility have historically helped marine resource users negotiate risk and adversity, much of modern fisheries management treats fishermen as specialists using specific gear types to target specific species. Here, we describe the evolution of harvest portfolios amongst Pacific Northwest fishermen over 35+ years with explicit attention to changes in the structure and function of the albacore (Thunnus alalunga, Scombridae) troll and pole-and-line fishery. Our analysis indicates that recent social–ecological changes have had heterogenous impacts upon the livelihood strategies favoured by different segments of regional fishing fleets. As ecological change and regulatory reform have restricted access to a number of fisheries, many of the regional small (<45 ft) and medium (45–60 ft) boat fishermen who continue to pursue diverse livelihood strategies have increasingly relied upon the ability to opportunistically target albacore in coastal waters while retaining more of the value generated by such catch. In contrast, large vessels (>60 ft) targeting albacore are more specialized now than previously observed, even as participation in multiple fisheries has become increasingly common for this size class. In describing divergent trajectories associated with the albacore fishery, one of the US West Coast's last open-access fisheries, we highlight the diverse strategies and mechanisms utilized to sustain fisheries livelihoods in the modern era while arguing that alternative approaches to management and licensing may be required to maintain the viability of small-scale fishing operations worldwide moving forward.

Predictability Of Species Distributions Deteriorates Under Novel Environmental Conditions In The California Current System

Project: From physics to fisheries: A social-ecological management strategy evaluation for the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem
Year: 2020

Author(s): Muhling, B. A., Brodie, S., Smith, J. A., Tommasi, D., Gaitan, C. F., Hazen, E. L., ... & Brodeur, R. D.


Project PI: Jacox
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2020.00589

Spatial distributions of marine fauna are determined by complex interactions between environmental conditions and animal behaviors. As climate change leads to warmer, more acidic, and less oxygenated oceans, species are shifting away from their historical distribution ranges, and these trends are expected to continue into the future. Correlative Species Distribution Models (SDMs) can be used to project future habitat extent for marine species, with many different statistical methods available. However, it is vital to assess how different statistical methods behave under novel environmental conditions before using these models for management advice, and to consider whether future projections based on these techniques are biologically reasonable. In this study, we built SDMs for adults and larvae of two ecologically important pelagic fishes in the California Current System (CCS): Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax) and northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax). We used five different SDM methods, ranging from simple [thermal niche model (TNM)] to complex (artificial neural networks). Our results show that some SDMs trained on data collected between 2003 and 2013 lost substantial predictive skill when applied to observations from more recent years, when ocean temperatures associated with a marine heatwave were outside the range of historical measurements. This decrease in skill was particularly apparent for adult sardine, which showed non-stationary relationships between catch locations and sea surface temperature (SST) through time. While sardine adults and larvae shifted their distributions markedly during the marine heatwave, anchovy largely maintained their historical spatiotemporal distributions. Our results suggest that correlative relationships between species and their environment can become unreliable during anomalous conditions. Understanding the underlying physiology of marine species is therefore essential for the construction of SDMs that are robust to rapidly changing environments. Developing distribution models that offer skillful predictions into the future for species such as sardine and anchovy, which are migratory and include separate sub-stocks, may be particularly challenging.

Drivers Of Subsurface Deoxygenation In The California Current System

Project: From physics to fisheries: A social-ecological management strategy evaluation for the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem
Year: 2020

Author(s): Evans, N, Schroeder, ID, Pozo Buil, M, Jacox, MG, Bograd, SJ


Project PI: Jacox
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL089274

A confluence of subarctic, tropical, and subtropical water masses feed the California Current System (CCS), supporting a highly productive ecosystem and wide array of marine ecosystem services. Long-term declines in oxygen have been observed in this region, causing habitat compression and other ecosystem consequences. Here we quantify the water masses and processes causing deoxygenation in the subsurface CCS from 1993–2018, and we find that deoxygenation was caused both by changes in the advection of source waters and increased remineralization in the source waters. The historical deoxygenation trend can be attributed primarily (81%) to the Northern Equatorial Pacific Intermediate Water, the deep Pacific Equatorial Water mass transported in the California Undercurrent. We also find that advection and remineralization share nearly equal contributions to deoxygenation. This improved understanding of the mechanisms affecting the aerobic habitat of the CCS will inform projections of ecological impacts and mitigation of future deoxygenation.

Adaptation And Resilience Of Commercial Fishers In The Northeast United States During The Early Stages Of The Covid-19 Pandemic

Project: Adapting to changes in fishing opportunity portfolios: abundance, availability, and access
Year: 2020

Author(s): Smith, S. L., Golden, A. S., Ramenzoni, V., Zemeckis, D. R., & Jensen, O. P.


Project PI: Ramenzoni
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0243886

Commercial fisheries globally experienced numerous and significant perturbations during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting the livelihoods of millions of fishers worldwide. In the Northeast United States, fishers grappled with low prices and disruptions to export and domestic markets, leaving many tied to the dock, while others found ways to adapt to the changing circumstances brought about by the pandemic. This paper investigates the short-term impacts of the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic (March-June 2020) on commercial fishers in the Northeast U.S. to understand the effects of the pandemic on participation in the fishery and fishers’ economic outcomes, using data collected from an online survey of 258 Northeast U.S. commercial fishers. This research also assesses characteristics of those fishers who continued fishing and their adaptive strategies to the changing circumstances. Analysis of survey responses found the majority of fishers continued fishing during the early months of the pandemic, while a significant number had stopped fishing. Nearly all reported a loss of income, largely driven by disruptions of export markets, the loss of restaurant sales, and a resulting decline in seafood prices. Landings data demonstrate that while fishing pressure in 2020 was reduced for some species, it remained on track with previous years for others. Fishers reported engaging in a number of adaptation strategies, including direct sales of seafood, switching species, and supplementing their income with government payments or other sources of income. Many fishers who had stopped fishing indicated plans to return, suggesting refraining from fishing as a short-term adaptation strategy, rather than a plan to permanently stop fishing. Despite economic losses, fishers in the Northeast U.S. demonstrated resilience in the face of the pandemic by continuing to fish and implementing other adaptation strategies rather than switching to other livelihoods.

Interannual Variability of the Mid‐Atlantic Bight Cold Pool

Project: A high-resolution physical-biological study of the Northeast U.S. shelf: past variability and future change
Year: 2020

Author(s): Chen, Z., & Curchitser, E. N. 


Project PI: Curchister
DOI:

The Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) Cold Pool is a bottom-trapped, cold (temperature below 10°C) and fresh (practical salinity below 34) water mass that is isolated from the surface by the seasonal thermocline and is located over the midshelf and outer shelf of the MAB. The interannual variability of the Cold Pool with regard to its persistence time, volume, temperature, and seasonal along-shelf propagation is investigated based on a long-term (1958–2007) high-resolution regional model of the northwest Atlantic Ocean. A Cold Pool Index is defined and computed in order to quantify the strength of the Cold Pool on the interannual timescale. Anomalous strong, weak, and normal years are categorized and compared based on the Cold Pool Index. A detailed quantitative study of the volume-averaged heat budget of the Cold Pool region (CPR) has been examined on the interannual timescale. Results suggest that the initial temperature and abnormal warming/cooling due to advection are the primary drivers in the interannual variability of the near-bottom CPR temperature anomaly during stratified seasons. The long persistence of temperature anomalies from winter to summer in the CPR also suggests a potential for seasonal predictability.

Dynamical downscaling of future hydrographic changes over the Northwest Atlantic Ocean

Project: A high-resolution physical-biological study of the Northeast U.S. shelf: past variability and future change
Year: 2020

Author(s): Shin, S., and Alexander, M. A. 


Project PI: Curchister
DOI: http://https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-19-0483.1

Projected climate changes along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts were examined using the eddy-resolvingRegional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS). First, a control (CTRL) ROMS simulation was performed usingboundary conditions derived from observations. Then climate change signals, obtained as mean seasonalcycle differences between the recent past (1976–2005) and future (2070–99) periods in a coupled global cli-mate model under the RCP8.5 greenhouse gas trajectory, were added to the initial and boundary conditionsof the CTRL in a second (RCP85) ROMS simulation. The differences between the RCP85 and CTRLsimulations were used to investigate the regional effects of climate change. Relative to the coarse-resolutioncoupled climate model, the downscaled projection shows that SST changes become more pronounced nearthe U.S. East Coast, and the Gulf Stream is further reduced in speed and shifted southward. Moreover, thedownscaled projection shows enhanced warming of ocean bottom temperatures along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts, particularly in the Gulf of Maine and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The enhanced warming was relatedto an improved representation of the ocean circulation, including topographically trapped coastal oceancurrents and slope water intrusion through the Northeast Channel into the Gulf of Maine. In response toincreased radiative forcing, much warmer than present-day Labrador Subarctic Slope Waters entered the Gulf of Maine through the Northeast Channel, warming the deeper portions of the gulf by more than 48ºC.

Integrated modelling to evaluate climate change impacts on coupled social-ecological systems in Alaska

Project: The Alaska climate integrate modeling project phase 2: Building pathways to resilience, through evaluation of climate impacts, risk, and adaptation responses of marine ecosystems, fisheries, and coastal communities in the Bering Sea, Alaska
Year: 2020

Author(s): Hollowed, A. B., K. K. Holsman, A. Haynie, A. Hermann, A. Punt, K. Aydin, J. Ianelli, S. Kasperski, W. Cheng, A. Faig, K. Kearney, J. Reum, P. Spencer, I. Spies, W. Stockhausen, C. Szuwalski, G. A. Whitehouse, T. Wilderbuer.


Project PI: Hollowed
DOI: http://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2019.00775

The Alaska Climate Integrated Modeling (ACLIM) project represents a comprehensive, multi-year, interdisciplinary effort to characterize and project climate-driven changes to the eastern Bering Sea (EBS) ecosystem, from physics to fishing communities. Results from the ACLIM project are being used to understand how different regional fisheries management approaches can help promote adaptation to climate-driven changes to sustain fish and shellfish populations and to inform managers and fishery dependent communities of the risks associated with different future climate scenarios. The project relies on iterative communications and outreaches with managers and fishery-dependent communities that have informed the selection of fishing scenarios. This iterative approach ensures that the research team focuses on policy relevant scenarios that explore realistic adaptation options for managers and communities. Within each iterative cycle, the interdisciplinary research team continues to improve: methods for downscaling climate models, climate-enhanced biological models, socio-economic modeling, and management strategy evaluation (MSE) within a common analytical framework. The evolving nature of the ACLIM framework ensures improved understanding of system responses and feedbacks are considered within the projections and that the fishing scenarios continue to reflect the management objectives of the regional fisheries management bodies. The multi-model approach used for projection of biological responses, facilitates the quantification of the relative contributions of climate forcing scenario, fishing scenario, parameter, and structural uncertainty with and between models. Ensemble means and variance within and between models inform risk assessments under different future scenarios. The first phase of projections of climate conditions to the end of the 21st century is complete, including projections of catch for core species under baseline (status quo) fishing conditions and two alternative fishing scenarios are discussed. The ACLIM modeling framework serves as a guide for multidisciplinary integrated climate impact and adaptation decision making in other large marine ecosystems.

Ecosystem based fisheries management forestalls climate-driven collapse

Project: The Alaska climate integrate modeling project phase 2: Building pathways to resilience, through evaluation of climate impacts, risk, and adaptation responses of marine ecosystems, fisheries, and coastal communities in the Bering Sea, Alaska
Year: 2020

Author(s): Holsman, K. K., A. Haynie, A. B. Hollowed, A. J. Hermann, W. Cheng, A. Faig, J. Ianelli, K. Kearney, A. Punt, J. Reum


Project PI: Hollowed
DOI: http://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18300-3

Climate change is impacting fisheries worldwide with uncertain outcomes for food and nutritional security. Using management strategy evaluations for key US fisheries in the eastern Bering Sea we find that Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management (EBFM) measures forestall future declines under climate change over non-EBFM approaches. Yet, benefits are species-specific and decrease markedly after 2050. Under high-baseline carbon emission scenarios (RCP 8.5), end-of-century (2075–2100) pollock and Pacific cod fisheries collapse in >70% and >35% of all simulations, respectively. Our analysis suggests that 2.1–2.3 °C (modeled summer bottom temperature) is a tipping point of rapid decline in gadid biomass and catch. Multiyear stanzas above 2.1 °C become commonplace in projections from ~2030 onward, with higher agreement under RCP 8.5 than simulations with moderate carbon mitigation (i.e., RCP 4.5). We find that EBFM ameliorates climate change impacts on fisheries in the near-term, but long-term EBFM benefits are limited by the magnitude of anticipated change.



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NOAA Atlas 14 Precipitation Frequency Atlas of the United States

  • 21 February 2020

NOAA Atlas 14 is a project of the National Weather Service’s Hydrometeorological Design Studies Center (HDSC) that provides precipitation frequency information for the U.S. states and territories. NOAA precipitation frequency estimates serve as the de-facto standards for designing, building and operating infrastructure to withstand the forces of heavy precipitation and floods.

In this video, HDSC meteorologist Michael St. Laurent explains what these values are, how they are used, how they are derived, inherent uncertainties in the existing methodology and data, and, more importantly, NOAA’s plans for future volumes that make several important modifications, including new non-stationary methods for incorporating future climate projections.

This video was produced for a CPO/SARP and NESDIS study supported by the NOAA Water initiative on understanding and filling the climate and weather informational gaps for small - medium size water utilities.

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