EPA Science Inventory

Effects of Climate Change on Temperature and Salinity in the Yaquina Estuary, Oregon (USA)

Citation:

BROWN, C. A., D. REUSSER, D. Sharp, H. Chang, AND M. Steele. Effects of Climate Change on Temperature and Salinity in the Yaquina Estuary, Oregon (USA). Presented at Pacific Estuarine Research Society Meeting, Anacortes, WA, April 12 - 14, 2012.

Description:

As part of a larger study to examine the effect of climate change (CC) on estuarine resources, we simulated the effect of rising sea level, alterations in river discharge, and increasing atmospheric temperatures on water properties (temperature and salinity) in the Yaquina Estuary. Due to uncertainty in the effects of climate change, initial model simulations were performed for different steady river discharge rates that span the historical range in freshwater inflow and for a range of increases in sea level and atmospheric temperature. Model simulations suggest that in the central portion of the estuary (19 km from mouth), a 60-cm increase in sea level will result in a 2-3 psu change in salinity across a broad range of river discharges. For the Oligohaline portion of the estuary, salinity increases associated with a rise in Sealevel of 60 cm are only apparent at low river discharge rates (< 30 m3 s-1). The estuarine temperature criterion is that the seven-day-average temperature of a region identified as having salmon and trout rearing and migration use may not exceed 18° C threshold, particularly in the Oligohaline portion of the estuary. Future increases in air temperature will increase the number of days this threshold is exceeded, particularly during the months of April, May, and September. Although largest temperature increases will occur upstream, the greatest increases in number of days exceeding 18°C criterion will occur near the mouth of the estuary. We demonstrate how the interaction of changes in river discharge, rising sea level, and atmospheric temperature associated with climate change produce non-linear patterns in the response of estuarine salinity and temperature, which vary with location inside the estuary and season.

Purpose/Objective:

As part of a larger study to examine the effect of climate change (CC) on estuarine resources, we simulated the effect of rising sea level, alterations in river discharge, and increasing atmospheric temperatures on water properties (temperature and salinity) in the Yaquina Estuary.

URLs/Downloads:

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Start Date: 04/14/2012
Completion Date: 04/14/2012
Record Last Revised: 11/29/2012
Record Created: 04/06/2012
Record Released: 04/06/2012
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 242448

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION

PACIFIC COASTAL ECOLOGY BRANCH