Rising variability in winter maritime climate

September 23, 2014

Farallon Institute collaborator Bryan A. Black and in-house scientists published new results in the journal Science.  In this paper, marine and terrestrial biological data were combined to reconstruct changes in winter maritime climate across six centuries.  The team developed a multivariate marine climate index, which represented coastal upwelling as well as local precipitation in adjacent terrestrial ecosystems, and linked variation in blue oak (Quercus douglasii) growth with several marine biological variables (copepod abundance, seabird productivity and timing of breeding, and rockfish growth).  Then, the team used the oak tree ring data set to hindcast winter climate changes over the past 576 years.  This exciting research illustrates a remarkable degree of connectivity across the coastal interface and supports an integrative approach to coastal zone management.  The study shows that winter climate variability is increasing, but remains within the bounds seen over the past 600 years.