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Future Temperature and Salinity in Puget Sound, Washington State, Under CMIP6 Climate Change Scenarios
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  • Stevie Walker,
  • Hem Nalini Morzaria Luna,
  • Isaac Kaplan,
  • Christopher Harvey,
  • David Petatán-Ramírez
Stevie Walker
Boston College

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Hem Nalini Morzaria Luna
Long Live the Kings
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Isaac Kaplan
Northwest Fisheries Science Center
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Christopher Harvey
Northwest Fisheries Science Center
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David Petatán-Ramírez
Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur
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In Washington State, climate change will reshape the Puget Sound marine ecosystem through bottom-up and, top-down processes, directly affecting species at all trophic levels. We applied analytical approaches to better understand future climate change effects on temperature and salinity in Puget Sound. We used empirical downscaling techniques to derive high resolution time series of future sea surface temperature and salinity, based on scenario outputs of two coarse resolution General Circulation Models, GFDL-CM4 and CNRM-CM6-1-HR, which were created as part of the CMIP6 - Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6. We calculated long-term averages for historical simulations, calculated anomalies for future years, and applied a delta-downscaling approach to a Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) time series, yielding short (2020–2050) and long-term (2070–2100) forecasts. Downscaled output for Puget Sound showed temperature and salinity variability between scenarios and models, but overall there was strong model agreement. Model variability and uncertainty was higher for long-term projections. Spatially, we found regional differences for both temperature and salinity: including higher temperatures in the South Basin and higher salinity in the North Basin. Caveats to our methodology include the assumption that variable relationships are static and cannot represent interactions between large scale and local change, but this study is a first step to translating CMIP6 outputs to higher resolution predictions of future conditions in Puget Sound. The climate projections for Puget Sound oceanography will be used to drive the Atlantis ecosystem model for Puget Sound, an end-to-end ecosystem modeling approach that represents all trophic levels and evaluates the species-level impacts of climate change. This project is part of a Washington State Sea Grant funded project, “Evaluating the effects of Southern Resident orcas recovery actions and external threats in the marine ecosystem of Puget Sound.”