Monitoring Climate Change Along The Coast Of Olympic National Park

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What impact is climate change having on the coastal areas of Olympic National Park? The following 14-minute video takes a look at that question.

Climate change will have many of its first impacts to our coasts and intertidal communities. This film highlights Dr. Steven Fradkin, coastal ecologist at Olympic National Park and his work monitoring intertidal life.


[quote]The following 14-minute video takes a look at that question.[/quote] And his conclusion is.....???? The area looks pretty much like it did 200 years ago.

How old are you, EC?;-)

Old enough to think for myself. Old enough to look, listen, analyze and reach a conclusion based on the facts and not emotion. But what is the point of the question? Its not your normal style.

Well, the point of the question is how do you know what coastal conditions were two centuries ago? Were acid levels in the Pacific the same then as they are now? If not, how is ocean acidification affecting shellfish? Have there been changes over the past 200 years to winter and spring precipitation (both form and amount), and if so, how has it affected salmon runs?

As noted by Battin et al. (2006), climate change will force shifts in the distribution of salmon populations that will affect their ability to cope with natural disturbances, particularly drought. Streams located high in watersheds that historically provided some of the best habitat may no longer be accessible to salmon if snowpack is reduced, thus limiting available rearing areas and access to thermal refugia in summer. Crozier et al. (2008) modeled Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) population response to alternative climate scenarios in Idaho's Salmon River and found that even moderate changes significantly increased the risk of local population extirpation. Crozier and Zabel (2006) suggested that two climate-related factors (temperature and streamflow) could affect habitat in different ways depending on local site characteristics; narrow, confined streams were more sensitive to flow changes, and wide streams were more sensitive to temperature changes. They concluded that different aspects of climate change were important at different spatial scales, and that a diversity of conditions was needed for metapopulation stability.

Trout and salmon within the interior Columbia River Basin may be especially sensitive to climate change, according to a recent report by a scientific panel (ISAB 2007). Although the intensity of the effects will vary spatially, climate change will alter virtually all streams and rivers in the basin. Current predictions suggest that temperature increases alone will render 2 to 7 percent of headwater trout habitat in the Pacific Northwest unsuitable by 2030, 5 to 20 percent by 2060, and 8 to 33 percent by 2090. Salmon habitat may be more severely affected, in part because these fish are usually restricted to lower, hence warmer, elevations within the region. Salmon habitat loss would be most severe in Oregon and Idaho with potential losses exceeding 40 percent by 2090. Loss of salmon habitat in Washington would be less severe, with the worst-case scenario indicating about 22 percent loss by 2090.


Both marine and freshwater phases of coho salmon play a significant role in the variability of recruitment. In fresh water, air temperatures and second winter flows correlate strongly with smolt production. There is a relationship between air temperature and sea water temperature indicating that favourable freshwater conditions typically lend to favourable marine conditions. The majority (90%) of interannual variability in marine survival of hatchery reared coho salmon between 1985 and 1996 can be explained by coastal oceanographic conditions.

Changes in climate also affect the size of Pacific salmon produced in Washington, Oregon and California rivers. Size is negatively correlated with the multivariable El Niño Southern Oscillation Index (ENSO), resulting in smaller fish during El Niño events. El Niño years, which tend to be warmer and dryer, are associated with decreased snow pack, decreased stream flow and below average salmon survival. Warm conditions from 1950-1990 had a negative affect on coho and Chinook salmon production off the coast of Washington, Oregon and California. Cool/wet conditions did not show this relationship.

Hatchery reared juvenile Chinook salmon in Puget Sound released during even-numbered years demonstrate a dramatic decrease in survival (59%) when compared to those released in odd-numbered years. The impact of competition with pink salmon as well as climate effects after El Niño years are attributed to this decrease in survival. Furthermore, negative effects of hatchery salmon may be stronger on vulnerable populations. There is a strong negative relationship between wild Snake River spring Chinook salmon survival and the number of hatchery Chinook salmon released based on a 25 year time series. This relationship is accentuated during years of poor oceanic conditions in a changing climate.

Changes in ocean conditions appear to play a larger role in the survival of coho and Chinook salmon and steelhead trout in the Northeast Pacific ocean than does the increased production from hatcheries. For example, environmental and anthropogenic factors affect the spawning date of salmonids. Spawning dates for coho and Chinook salmon at the University of Washington hatchery have become earlier since the 1950s and 1960s in association with an increase in stream temperatures. However, genetic factors appear to play a more significant role in timing of spawning than stream temperatures. A model based on archaeological and paleological evidence was used to predict the effects of climate change on salmon populations from the Columbia River basin. The model predicts a 30-60% decline for these stocks
under conditions similar to those 6000-7000 years ago when temperatures were up to 2°C warmer.

[quote] how do you know what coastal conditions were two centuries ago? [/quote] I don't. But the conclusion wasn't mine, it was the conclusion of Dr. Steven Fradkin.
I am glad we have climate change, one perpetual season would be boring. Some new taxes will fix everything.

EC, that wasn't his conclusion. I think you're taking things a bit out of context. That comment was in describing the outward appearance of the Olympic NP coast.

He also said the salmon fisheries have been depleted from what they once were, and that "With climate change, when you have these periods where the temperature rises, it is going to change the fundamental nature of this ecosystem." To monitor that change, they have set up grids along the intertidal zones.

"The thing about climate change," he noted, "is that there's no one particular item which is a smoking gun, so you can't look any one particular instance, one particular heat wave event, one particular storm, and say aha, this is proof of climate change. Proof of climate change is taken over a longer period of time."

And that's where the monitoring that's being done in Olympic comes into play.

No emotion there. And the additional citations I pulled out provide some facts that further buttress his point. His research could add to that. Now, if you have another set of facts....

[quote] He also said the salmon fisheries have been depleted [/quote] But I don't believe he attributed that to climate change. That is more a factor of over fishing and dammed rivers. [quote] With climate change, when you have these periods where the temperature rises, it is going to change the fundamental nature of this ecosystem. [/quote] Maybe, but what is so surprising about that? Climate has changed since day one. I kept waiting for him to provide the evidence that the ecosystem was being affected and that man was the cause. It never came. Nevertheless, I appreciate his work and enjoyed the videography.
Damn those [url=]97% of climate scientists for pushing the hoax that climate change over recent years is linked to human causes.[/url]
Rick, As often as you repeat that myth, it won't be true. Here is an analyses of the origins of that 97% number. Bottom line, only 1-3% of the scientists in the various studies explicitly agreed with the IPCC position that man is the primary cause of global warming.
Don't tell me, denier-guy. Tell NASA their science is bad. I've researched Friends of Science, and won't bother with any of their end product.
Of course you won't bother with their end product. You can't dispute their work but you don't like their conclusion.
Whatever you wanna say, denier-guy. G'nite for now.

In climate change news circles....

Energy companies have been under increasing pressure from shareholder activists in recent years to warn investors of the risks that stricter limits on carbon emissions would place on their business.

On Thursday, a shareholder group said that it had won its biggest prize yet, when Exxon Mobil became the first oil and gas producer to agree to publish that information by the end of the month.

Early in his career, a scientist named Mario J. Molina was pulled into seemingly obscure research about strange chemicals being spewed into the atmosphere. Within a year, he had helped discover a global environmental emergency, work that would ultimately win a Nobel Prize.

Now, at 70, Dr. Molina is trying to awaken the public to an even bigger risk. He spearheaded a committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society, which released a stark report Tuesday on global warming.

Climate change will displace hundreds of millions of people by the end of this century, increasing the risk of violent conflict and wiping trillions of dollars off the global economy, a forthcoming UN report will warn.

Kurt, More of the chick little doomsday stuff. The global warming/climate change models have been so far off the mark in the past. Why would you believe their predictions of the future would be any more accurate?

EC, I linked to those stories to further the conversation. But beyond that, you have to agree the weather of late, across the globe, has been a bit, uh, bizarre:

The 2013 extreme weather events included several all-time temperature records in Northern and Southern Hemisphere. The February extent of snow cover in Eurasia and North America was above average, while the extent of Arctic ice in the same month was 4,5% below the 1981–2010 average.[1] The Northern Hemisphere weather extremes have been linked to the melting of Arctic sea ice, which alters atmospheric circulation in a way that leads to more snow and ice.[2]
By January 11, 233 weather-related deaths were reported in India.[3] Elsewhere, particularly in Russia, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom, low temperatures had an impact on wildlife, delaying bird breeding and disrupting the bird migration. On January 10 Bangladesh faced the lowest temperature since country's independence, at 3.0 °C (37.4 °F) in Saidpur.[4]

Land and ocean temperature values in February 2013 compared to a 1981–2010 base period.

Differences of land precipitation percentiles in February 2013 from average values.
In Europe the late spring and June were perturbed. While Finland and most of Northern Countries got the record high, and even the highest temperatures at Europe during May and June, Western- and Middle Europe faced much cooler weather and even their wettest May and June ever. This difference at weather was very exceptional in Europe.

There have been heat waves in Slovenia and Australia, snow in Vietnam, and the return of the polar vortex to North America. Great Britain has had its wettest winter in 250 years, but temperatures in parts of Russia and the Arctic have been 18 degrees above normal. Meanwhile, the Southern Hemisphere has had the warmest start to a year ever recorded, with millions of people sweltering in Brazilian and southern African cities.

According to the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which monitors global weather, the first six weeks of 2014 have seen an unusual number of extremes of heat, cold, and rain—not just in a few regions as might be expected in any winter, but right the way around the world at the same time, with costly disruptions to transport, power systems, and food production.

From my climate-change studies, such bizarre swings in the "weather" are all part of the climate-change model.

[quote] has been a bit, uh, bizarre: [/quote] No it hasn't. Weather is variable. Always has been. It recently hasn't been any more extreme than in previous periods. CC predicted more hurricanes, we have had less. CC predicted more tornados and forest fires. Hasn't happened.
It's going to be very amusing someday in the future when the deniers suddenly find themselves in trouble and begin screaming that the government failed to do anything to stop the problem. Well, maybe tragic is a better word than amusing.
Lee, I wouldn't hold your breath.
I won't because I know that some folks are foolish enough to deny until their dying breath that it was all those cigarettes that killed them.
Lee - They are called "what wall?" people. After they walk into a wall, smash their nose flat, knock out a couple of teeth and stopped from walking, their only comment is "What wall? I didn't see no wall". Except, of course, for those who do know better and deny because it is in line with either their political views or their own financially vested interests, or both. There are a long list of other terms for these other people.
[quote] it is in line with either their political views or their own financially vested interests, or both. [/quote] A great description of the climate change hoaxters. How much has Al Gore made off "global warming". How much with people make trading carbon credits? How much will climate change legislation allow the government to control your lives? Alot!
In listing your fears don't forget those black helicopters coming over the hill.
What's an alot? Some new device at NSA? (Kurt, formatting still won't work.)

I know Lee, I know. Fixes coming. Possibly by Monday!

[quote]don't forget those black helicopters coming over the hill.[/quote] Well Rick, your usually failed attempt to be cute - and dodge the issue. Are you implying non of those "fears" are real? BTW, speaking of Black Helicopters, are you up to date on recent NSA activities?
Sounding a bit like Jay Carney and his theatrics at his press briefings making fun of serious questions. In today's reality those black helicopters and more seem very believable. Infinitely more so than most of what you here from today's media and government spokesman.
Friends of Science was created by the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists....Yea sure they have no financial stake in this argument at all lol...EC, citing this group and thier findings in contrast to what NASA puts out is like having a Phillip Morris rep give you info that contradicts what the rest of the medical community thinks about smoking.
Thank you, Rambler. That is exactly what I was biting my tongue on last night.
Rambler, Why don't you respond to their points rather than dismissing them outright? They have laid out their facts and statistics. Why don't you show where they are wrong? Probably because you can't.
A good source for reliable science information on global climate change is the AAAS, the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. They recently established a site for information on climate change and it can be found here Another good source is the NAS, National Academy of Sciences with a recent publication with clear answers to questions like "If the world is warming, why are some winters and summers still very cold?" You can find the answer in their booklet by following the link below.
They have laid out their facts and statistics. Why don't you show where they are RIGHT? Probably because you can't.
The report already lays that out. Perhaps you should read it.
Did read it. Didn't see proof positive that their claims are right. How about providing that for us?