Tuesday March 12, 2024

NOAA Fisheries

The California Current ecosystem is a vital ocean system stretching from Washington to Baja California. It faces a strong 2024 El Niño event, a cyclical warming of the Pacific Ocean. However, the latest information from NOAA’s Integrated Ecosystem Assessment program suggests the ecosystem is better positioned to weather these changing conditions than previous El Niño events.

The annual California Current Ecosystem Status Reports compile results from researchers who monitor changes and trends in all facets of ecosystem health. They represent physical, chemical, biological, and socio-economic sciences. Results from these reports are presented annually to the Pacific Fishery Management Council.

The California Current ecosystem experienced both positive and negative conditions from the coast to the offshore waters in 2023. On land, atmospheric rivers produced extreme precipitation events in early 2023. This resulted in a record mountain snowpack and reduced longstanding drought conditions for some regions. Additionally, the fourth largest marine heatwave was recorded in offshore waters during the summer. It contributed to an overall warming trend of ocean waters over recent years. Offshore marine heatwaves have occurred annually since the historic heatwave in 2013 called “The Blob.”

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