Monday, August 31, 2015

New study reveals the possibility of hurricanes ‘unlike anything you’ve seen in history’

[Washington Post] Last week, the nation focused its attention on the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the most destructive hurricane in U.S. history. As bad as the storm was, though, it wasn’t the worst storm that could have possibly hit New Orleans.
That’s true of many, many other places, too. And now, in a new study in Nature Climate Change, Princeton’s Ning Lin and MIT’s Kerry Emanuel demonstrate that when it comes to three global cities in particular — Tampa, Fla., Cairns, Australia, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates — there could come a storm that is much worse than anything in recent memory (or in any memory).
Granted, these theoretical storms are also highly unlikely to occur — in some cases, they are 1-in-10,000-year events, or even rarer. The researchers refer to these possible storms as “gray swans,” riffing on the concept of a “black swan” event, an unpredictable  catastrophe, or highly impactful event. A “gray swan,” by contrast, can indeed be predicted, even if it is extremely rare.
The purpose of the study is “to raise awareness of what a very low probability, very high impact hurricane event might look like,” said Emanuel. The gray swan storms were generated by a computer model that “coupled” together, in the researchers’ parlance, a very high-resolution hurricane model with a global climate model. That allowed the researchers to populate the simulated world with oodles of different storms.
“When you do hundreds and hundreds of thousands of events, you’re going to see hurricanes that are unlike anything you’ve seen in history,” said Emanuel, a key theoretician behind the equations determining the “maximum potential intensity” of a hurricane in a given climate. Indeed, he has published in the past that a theoretical “hypercane” with winds approaching 500 miles per hour is possible in scenarios where an asteroid hits the Earth and radically heats up ocean waters, far beyond their normal temperature.
So what did the researchers see? Let’s take Tampa Bay, first. It hasn’t been hit by a major hurricane since 1921 — but that storm drove a 3- to 3.5-meter (10- to 11-foot) storm surge and caused dramatic damage. Earlier, in 1848, another storm produced a 4.6-meter surge (about 15 feet).
Why is Tampa Bay so vulnerable? Check out any good map that shows the water depth (the bathymetry) around the Florida peninsula. It’s deep off the east coast. But there’s an extraordinarily broad continental shelf off the west coast. And although the city of Tampa, proper, sits at the head of Tampa Bay, relatively far from the mouth and well removed from the barrier islands that get battered by the waves from the Gulf of Mexico, that’s a more vulnerable spot than you’d think.
“One can get much larger surges where the offshore waters are shallow, as is true along the west, but not the east coast of Florida. Also, surges can amplify by being funneled into bays,” Emanuel said Monday in an e-mail.
The new method allows the researchers to show that a worse storm than these historical examples is possible, especially with sea level rise and global warming. They simulated 2,100 possible Tampa Bay hurricanes in the current climate, and then 3,100 each for three time periods (2006 through 2036, 2037 through 2067, and 2068 through 2098) in an unchecked global warming scenario. In the current climate, the study found that a 5.9-meter (19-foot) storm surge is possible, in a strong Category 3 hurricane following a similar track to Tampa’s classic 1921 and 1848 storms. Moreover, in a late 21st century climate with global warming run amok, the worst-case scenario generated by the model included a very different storm track, moving north along Florida’s Gulf Coast and then swerving inland at Tampa, that generated an 11.1-meter (nearly 37-foot) surge. Read More

NASA Image Shows 3 Hurricanes Approaching Toward Pacific As Big Island of Hawaii Braces For High Winds

[IBI Times] Three Category 4 hurricanes are approaching the Pacific Ocean, according to a new image captured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite. All the three hurricanes -- named Hurricane Kilo, Hurricane Ignacio and Hurricane Jimena -- are approaching the ocean at the same time.
The image of the three hurricanes marching toward the Pacific was recently released by NASA. Although the image appears to be serene, its clarity depicts the massive amount of threat that the situation poses to Japan, Hawaii, Taiwan and the Philippines. According to the U.S. Weather Channel, this is the first time in the history that three hurricanes are approaching at the same time have been captured by a satellite.
While Hurricane Ignacio is expected to hit the north of Hawaii in the first week of September, the island has started to take the preparedness steps to brave the high winds. The approach of the hurricane is likely to bring high rainfall and a six-meter rise in the level of the ocean surrounding the state.
Hurricane Jimena is expected to pass through a little far from Hawaii during the mid of the first week of September. However, experts are not sure about the path of the hurricane and say that it might actually deviate from what is being forecast. On the other hand, Hurricane Kilo will also remain one of the major hurricanes during the week; however, it is safely located in the open water.
The appearance of the three hurricanes together has been linked to the El Nino effect. According to The Australian Bureau of Meteorology, a one-degree higher temperature than the average has been recorded in the eastern half of the northern Pacific ocean and also the Indian ocean. In the coming weeks, the temperature is expected to increase even higher than the peak anomaly temperature observed during 2002 and 2009 El Nino.

Friday, August 28, 2015

NASA, USGS celebrate 25 years of studying earth changes

[ArgusLeader]Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey’s EROS Data Center celebrated a 25-year partnership with NASA on Thursday that has turned space science into insight and answers for drought, earthquakes, wild fires and more.
It was Aug. 28, 1990, that the two federal agencies decided to establish what officially is called the Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center at the EROS site northeast of Sioux Falls.
That’s a mouthful for the work being done at the center, where 55 to 60 scientists, engineers and analysts take land data from NASA satellites and ingest it, archive it, process it and distribute it in various products to 130,000 users globally.
As flags for USGS and NASA were ceremoniously raised Thursday — just as they were 25 years ago at the start of this partnership — city, state and federal officials gathered to acknowledge how that work has impacted the understanding of changes on the land and how to potentially avert future disasters.
Michael Connor, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Interior, touched on those impacts, from satellite imagery that tracks how land surfaces are affected by drought in California, wild fires in the West or rising water levels along the coasts.
“The challenges and the stresses that exist on the earth and its natural resources are simply growing in complexity, compounded by our use of those natural resources and continuing to have the increasing population,” Connor said. “And of course climate change is an overlay that complicates all of these issues.”
Acting USGS Director Suzette Kimball said South Dakota is “certainly an appropriate location” for one of NASA’s 12 Distributed Active Archive Centers and the only one housed in a USGS facility. Data-set products produced at the center not only provide valuable information to the National Earthquake Information Center, but to other government and private sectors as well — everything from managing potential fuels for wild fires to predicting crop yields.
“Having these kinds of data available is not only a benefit to USGS, but to the nation and the communities that live in the realm of risk, areas where there are earthquake and volcano events,” Kimball said. Read More

Zombie Factories Stalk the Sputtering Chinese Economy

[New York Times] Miao Leijie loses money on each ton of cement his company produces. But stopping production is not an option.
When the plant opened in 2011 to supply the real estate and infrastructure industries in the northern Chinese city of Changzhi, the company raised most of the initial money from banks. Now, Mr. Miao, the factory’s general director, needs to keep churning out cement simply so the company can pay the interest on its loans.
It will be tough for the business, Lucheng Zhuoyue Cement Plant, to get out of the hole. Customers and investments are drying up, and the company is borrowing even more money to stay afloat.
“If we ceased production, the losses would be crushing,” Mr. Miao said, as he chain-smoked in the company’s quiet, spartan office. “We are working for the bank.”
Changzhi and its environs are littered with half-dead cement factories and silent, mothballed plants, an eerie backdrop to the struggling Chinese economy.
Like many industrial cities across China, Changzhi, which expanded aggressively during the country’s long investment boom, has too many factories and too little demand. That excess capacity, many economists indicate, will have to be eliminated for the Chinese economy to return to healthy growth.
But rather than shut down, Lucheng Zhuoyue and other Changzhi companies are limping along in a kind of march of the undead.
To protect jobs and plants, the government and its state-owned banks sometimes keep money-losing businesses on life support by rolling over or restructuring loans, providing fresh credit or offering other aid. While this may seem like an odd business tactic, it is part of a broader strategy to help maintain social stability, a major goal of China’s leadership. Authorities in China’s provinces and cities also back struggling factories just because they are deemed important to the local economy.
Similar strategies have been tried before, with little success. In Japan, such businesses, known as “zombie companies,” are blamed for contributing to that country’s two decades of economic stagnation.
As China allows its own “zombies” to stalk the economy, the situation is clouding the country’s outlook, making it difficult to predict where growth is headed. If the leadership doesn’t address the underlying problem, the economic weakness could be prolonged.
Concerns have already been rising that China’s slowdown is worsening and its problems are becoming harder to overcome. Such fears helped ignite a dramatic sell-off on stock markets around the world. Shares on the Shanghai stock exchange have tumbled by more than third since the June high.
“Global investors have now come to realize that China’s travails are beginning to affect everyone,” said Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC in Hong Kong. Read More

New Study Finds A “Very Strong” Correlation Between GMOs And Two Dozen Diseases

[Collective Evolution] It’s no secret that we are living in a time where chronic disease continues to rise at an exponential rate, especially within the past couple of decades. New evidence continues to mount suggesting that Genetically Modified Organisms (more specifically GM food) might have played, and do play a key role in those statistics.
A new study  recently published in the Journal of Organic Systems last September examined US government databases, researchers searched for GE (Genetically Engineered) crop data, glyphosate application data, and disease epidemiological data while performing a “correlation analysis” on a total of 22 different diseases.
Researchers reached an alarming conclusion:
“These data show very strong and highly significant correlations between the increasing use of glyphosate, GE crop growth and the increase in a multitude of diseases. Many of the graphs show sudden increases in the rates of diseases in the mid-1990s that coincide with the commercial production of GE crops. The probabilities in the graphs and tables show that it is highly unlikely that the correlations are a coincidence. The strength of the correlations shows that there is a very strong probability that they are linked somehow.”  (1)
If you’re thinking correlation doesn’t mean causation, you are right, but it’s important to consider taking into account the multitude of studies that clearly indicate the potential dangers associated with ingesting genetically modified foods . There is a lot of information out there, and our lack of support for GE foods comes from examining a multitude of information instead of just “a study.”  It’s always important to look at a wide variety of data and evidence when trying to make the best possible decisions for you and your family when it comes to GE foods. The science suggesting that they should not be deemed completely safe for consumption is quite large, and goes beyond the correlation analysis that was performed in this study.
If you take glyphosate, for example, it was introduced in 1974 and its use is accelerating at an alarming rate. Over the decades, strong scientific evidence has shown how glyphosate disrupts the endocrine system and the balance of gut bacteria, that it damages DNA and encourages cell mutations that can lead to cancer. It’s also been linked to autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and various other detrimental human health ailments. This fact alone gives more credence to the main study mentioned in this article.
The actual study contains more information and visuals for anybody who reads it, you can access it within the sources. Read More

Urban Agroecoloy: 6,000 lbs of food on 1/10th acre - Urban Homestead - U...

Thursday, August 20, 2015

See an Astronaut’s Epic Photo of the Northwest Wildfires From Space

[Time] With more than 100 wildfires burning in parts of California, Oregon and Washington, NASA’s astronaut Kjell Lindgren shared a photo of the colossal plumes of smoke seen from space.
“Thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the wildfires in the Northwest,” the flight engineer wrote on Twitter from abroad the International Space Station.
In California alone, more than 11,000 firefighters were mobilized, with the U.S. Forest Service spending more than $100 million each week nationwide. The agency warns it will have exhausted its annual firefighting budget by the end of the week.
Already, more than 7.1 million acres have been charred across the country, a record at this particular time of the year. Read More

Typhoons test China's vulnerability to extreme weather

[EE News] After Typhoon Soudelor smashed into China earlier this month and as forecasters watch another powerful storm -- Typhoon Goni -- that could brush its coast this weekend, the question being posed is whether this huge country is prepared for more extreme weather events.
The short answer is: No. Researchers say that although China has made notable progress in disaster prevention, climate-resilient infrastructure is still largely missing. On top of that, how to get affected communities back to normal life remains an unsolved challenge.
Extreme weather events have been taking a toll in China in many ways. Government statistics show that typhoons, heat waves and other devastating weather have killed more than 2,000 people each year on average since the 1990s. They also cost the Chinese economy at least 200 billion yuan ($31 billion) annually in direct economic damage.
In 2015 alone, four typhoons have already made landfall in China. The latest one -- Soudelor -- caused 26 deaths, affected 770 million people and blew away goods and infrastructure worth nearly $3 billion (ClimateWire, Aug. 10).
While no country in the world could completely avoid losses in natural disasters, the risk is particularly high in China, as it lacks infrastructure that is badly needed amid a changing climate, said Yang Fuqiang, a climate expert at the Beijing office of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
One case in point was a recent typhoon in which over a thousand ships sought shelter from the storm, yet all of them capsized, Yang said. "The port failed to protect them from the fierce wind," Yang said. "Although we are very good at evacuating people, our infrastructures lack the resilience against extreme weather events." Read More

12 Commandments for a Happy Life and Soul

[Huffington Post] 1. Choose happiness. Radiate it. Happiness is a choice and an energy you can cultivate on a daily basis. Do your best to live in high vibration energy like love, peace, fun and joy -- for your own wellbeing and fulfillment, and for the positive ripple effect it has on those around you and the entire world. Bring a sense of play, delight, awe and enthusiasm to your daily life and tasks. Decide that no matter what happens, you will keep your heart open.
2. Enjoy the pleasures of life. You are the Universe experiencing itself through you. Show it a good time. Give it to yourself to enjoy earthly pleasures. Get up early and watch a sunrise, swim in the ocean, devour fresh salads and juices, put on your favorite tunes, throw a dinner party, try a new recipe, relax in the park with a great book, have a second coffee, and do the things that make you feel fully alive.
3. Make empowered choices. You don't have control over everything in life but you do have control over your choices. Make choices that are loving and kind to you. Feel good about your choices. Make them with the right energy - wholeheartedness, joy and permission. Use permissive verbs - I can do this; I choose this.
4. Live in gratitude. Gratitude is deceptively simple yet incredibly powerful. It makes what you have today enough, while also attracting more great things into your life. Say thank you numerous times a day. Thank you for fresh air, blue skies, rain drops, nourishing food, warm clothes, loved ones, and life itself.
5. Own your gifts. You are the only you in the history of humankind. There will never again be anyone else like you - with your unique and magical blend of talents, passions, quirks, ideas and energy. When you think of how many sliding doors moments and events in history had to happen for you to be here today, you may realize for a moment how incredibly precious and worthy you are. Shine your light. Own your gifts. Share your true authentic self with the world. Read More

Fear From Above: Chemtrails vs. Conspiracy Theory in the Bay Area

[SF Weekly] Patrick Roddie films the sky every day. Two years ago, he rigged a camera on the roof of his apartment building in Lower Pacific Heights to record timelapses of the sun's dawn-to-dusk arc, along with the sky's usual bland traffic of birds, airplanes, and clouds.
Many of Roddie's timelapses — which he uploads to YouTube — capture something else, too: hazy, white threads that thicken in the wake of airplanes and sometimes tattoo the sky in grids. To the uninitiated, these are contrails, the harmless water vapor that commercial planes spume as they track across the sky at 30,000 feet. To Roddie and his followers, however, these are chemtrails, the toxic signature of a covert government program to slow global warming and control the weather.
Roddie knows this sounds like boilerplate conspiracy theory. "Don't trust me," he says. "Assume I'm full of crap. I'm just some Irish guy."
Roddie, who was born in Belfast, has the beard of a Confederate general and the doggedness of a street preacher. His day job is photographing portraits, mostly of weddings and children (he also has a Burning Man portfolio dating back to 1998), but his passion is cataloging and protesting "the global chemtrails program."
Roddie runs a website, Stop Spraying Us - SF, helps admin a Facebook group called California - Bay Area Residents Against Chemtrails/Geoengineering that has more than 2,000 members, manages a YouTube account that's 200 videos strong (with most view counts in the low hundreds), leads small monthly rallies at City Hall and the Ferry Building, and travels widely to speak out against chemtrails. Roddie estimates that over the course of his three-year chemtrails activism career he's burned and distributed more than 30,000 informational DVDs.
Last month, he raised $5,000 on GoFundMe to fly to Paris, where he presented a paper to climate scientists about the health effects of geoengineering. And this month, he addressed a public Environmental Protection Agency hearing in Washington about the dangers of aircraft pollution.
If you ask him the million-dollar question — Why are they spraying chemtrails? — his stock answer is: "Because they're assholes." Read More

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Latest forecast suggests 'Godzilla El Niño' may be coming to California

[LA Times] The strengthening El Niño in the Pacific Ocean has the potential to become one of the most powerful on record, as warming ocean waters surge toward the Americas, setting up a pattern that could bring once-in-a-generation storms this winter to drought-parched California.
The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center said Thursday that all computer models are predicting a strong El Niño to peak in the late fall or early winter. A host of observations have led scientists to conclude that “collectively, these atmospheric and oceanic features reflect a significant and strengthening El Niño.”
“This definitely has the potential of being the Godzilla El Niño,” said Bill Patzert, a climatologist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.
Patzert said El Niño’s signal in the ocean “right now is stronger than it was in 1997,” the summer in which the most powerful El Niño on record developed.
“Everything now is going to the right way for El Niño,” Patzert said. “If this lives up to its potential, this thing can bring a lot of floods, mudslides and mayhem.”
“This could be among the strongest El Niños in the historical record dating back to 1950,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center. Read More

Saturday, August 15, 2015

8/15/2015 -- Japan on Alert -- Sakurajima Volcano evacuations -- Volcano...

Risk of food shortages to rise with climate change

[CBS News] The chances of food shortages and extreme price hikes could triple by 2040 due to increasing extreme and erratic weather brought about by climate change, according to task force of British and American experts.
According to the new report from the Global Food Security program, the risk of a "production shock" is set to go from an event that has happened once a century to one that happens every 30 years mostly due to the impacts to farmers from floods and droughts.
"It is likely that the effects of climate change will be felt most strongly through the increasing frequency of extreme weather events such as droughts, heat waves and floods and their impact on the production and distribution of food - something we almost take for granted," said Tim Benton, who serves as the UK Champion for Global Food Security, acting as ambassador and spokesperson for matters to do with food and food security.
"This study presents a plausible scenario for how the food system might be impacted by extreme weather, alongside a series of recommendations that should help policy and business plan for the future," he said. "Action is urgently needed to understand risks better, improve the resilience of the global food system to weather-related shocks and to mitigate their impact on people."
The report is the latest to link climate change with disruptions in the food system, which is expected to see demand increase 60 percent by 2050 mostly due to increases in population as well as the numbers of people escaping poverty for the middle class.
The United Nations has warned that a warmer world will push food prices higher, trigger "hotspots of hunger" among the world's poorest people, and put a crunch on supplies of Western delicacies like fine wine.
Other scientific studies have suggested that increased greenhouse gas emission mostly from the burning of fossil fuels will reduce the availability of some vegetables, fruits and seafood varieties, cause others to lose their taste and make some food crops less nutritious. Read More

If global warming really did pause, the planet just pressed ‘play’ again

[Washington Post] In June, in a bombshell study in Science, federal researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) took away climate skeptics’ number one favorite argument — the notion that in recent years, global warming had slowed down or hit a “pause.”
Applying a number of corrections and adjustments to their dataset of global temperatures — one of the world’s most influential and widely used — so as to correct for lingering biases, the NOAA researchers pronounced that the “newly corrected and updated global surface temperature data…do not support the notion of a global warming ‘hiatus.’”
Not everyone, though, is convinced. And this week in Science, climate scientist Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Co, counters by once again making the case that there really was a global warming “hiatus” from about 1998 to 2013.
“The perception of whether or not there was a hiatus depends on how the temperature record is partitioned,” Trenberth writes. The NOAA scientists, Trenberth argues, picked 1950 as a starting year for their analysis, which happens to have been right in the middle of — that’s right — another “pause.” This, Trenberth says, reduced the trend from 1950 to 1999, and thus would have made 1998-2013 seem more comparable to it. Read More

Evidence of Coal-Fly-Ash Toxic Chemical Geoengineering in the Troposphere: Consequences for Public Health

[Prnewswire] In her 1962 book Silent Spring Rachel Carson called attention to the unintended consequences of herbicide and pesticide use, and launched the modern environmental movement. Now, there is growing evidence of a grave new and persistent global environmental public health threat that has gone unremarked in the scientific literature. Burning coal by electric utilities concentrates the impurities in "fly ash", fine particles that used to go up the smokestack, but now are trapped because of their toxic environmental and public health hazards. In a recent article in International Journal of Environment Research and Public Health, geoscientist, J. Marvin Herndon presents "strong experimental evidence that coal fly ash is the aerosolized particulate sprayed in the troposphere by tanker-jets for geoengineering, weather-modification and climate-modification purposes."
As the article reveals, while university scientists talk about geoengineering as if it is some possible future activity, the reality is that geoengineering has been practiced throughout the 21st century, with full scale, near-daily operational activity since about 2013. Further, while the academics talk about placing substances in the upper atmosphere (stratosphere), where little mixing occurs, with "no public disclosure, no informed consent, and no public health warnings" the on-going geoengineering activities spray toxic coal fly ash into the lower atmosphere (troposphere) where it mixes with and pollutes the air we all breathe.
Herndon discloses "the consequences on public health are profound, including exposure to a variety of toxic heavy metals, radioactive elements, and neurologically-implicated chemically mobile aluminum released by body moisture in situ after inhalation or through transdermal induction." He notes that long exposure to ultrafine-grain air pollution particulates has been associated with morbidity and premature mortality, so one "may therefore reasonably conclude that aerosolized coal fly ash … is detrimental to human health."
Herndon further states that aerosolized coal fly ash can potentially endanger humans through two primary routes: "(1) ingestion of rainwater-extract of coal fly ash toxins, directly or after concentration by evaporation and (2) particulate intake through inhalation or through contact with the eyes or skin. In the latter instance, harm to humans can arise from in situ body-fluid extraction of coal fly ash toxins as well as from the consequences of tissue contact." Moreover, he notes, ultrafine coal fly ash "is readily entrained in terminal airways and alveoli and retained in the lungs for long periods of time; the small grain-size enables it to penetrate and reach deep within the airways where it can cause inflammation and pulmonary injury." Read More

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Speed of glacier retreat worldwide 'historically unprecedented', says report

[The Guardian] The world’s glaciers are in retreat. The great tongues of ice high in the Himalayas, the Andes, the Alps and the Rockies are going back uphill at ever greater speeds, according to new research.
And this loss of ice is both accelerating and “historically unprecedented”, say scientists who report in the Journal of Glaciology.
In the past year or so, researchers have identified rapid rises in meltwater and alarming cases of glacial retreat in Greenland, West Antarctica, the Canadian and Alaskan coastal mountains, in Europe and in the Himalayan massif. They have also watched glaciers pick up speed downhill. One satellite-based study, confirmed by on-the-ground measurements, of the Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland, confirms that the river of ice is now moving at the rate of 46 metres a day, 17 kilometres a year, which is twice the speed recorded in 2003, which in turn was twice as fast as measured in 1997.
The World Glacier Monitoring Service, based at the University of Zurich in Switzerland and with partners in 30 countries, has been compiling data on changes in glaciers over the last 120 years. And it has just compared all known 21st century observations with data from site measurements, aerial photography and satellite observations and evidence from pictorial and written sources. Altogether, the service has collected 5,000 measurements of glacier volume and changes in mass since 1850, and 42,000 records of variations in glacier fronts from records dating back to the 16th century.
And the evidence is clear: the glaciers are in retreat, worldwide, and the retreat is accelerating. Read More

Ocean changes are affecting salmon biodiversity and survival

[PhysOrg] The biodiversity of two Northern Pacific salmon species may be at risk due to changes in ocean conditions at the equator, reports a study by the University of California, Davis.
In the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Aug. 3, researchers tracked the survival of Chinook and coho salmonfrom hatcheries in North America between 1980 and 2006.
Before the 1990s, ocean survival rates of Chinook and coho salmon varied separately from each other. However, the researchers were surprised to find that survival rates of the two species have since become increasingly similar.
"Two species that historically have had different responses and seem to be very different in their coastal-wide patterns now appear to be more synchronized," said lead author Patrick Kilduff, a postdoctoral scholar under Louis Botsford in the UC Davis Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology at the time of the study. "When salmon populations are synchronized, it's either good for everyone or bad for everyone—similar to the stock market."
From an economic perspective, it means that when catch of one species is low, catch of the other also will tend to be low.
This synchronous response to ocean conditions represents a loss in biological diversity that cannot be addressed directly by freshwater management actions, the study said.
It's not yet well understood what is causing the increasing similarity, but the researchers said it could reflect a change in coastal ocean food-web linkages or perhaps a change in the salmon species themselves.
Historically, many Pacific salmon species were thought to be influenced by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), an El Nino-associated eastern Pacific warming pattern. As the nature of El Niños has changed, another ocean indicator, the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO) has grown increasingly important, but its impact on salmon was not well-understood.
This new study found that coho and Chinook salmon survival rates along the West Coast are more strongly connected to the NPGO than to the PDO.
"Changes in equatorial conditions lead to more of the large-scale Pacific Ocean variability being explained by North Pacific Gyre Oscillation, and it's influencing the survival of salmon from Vancouver Island south to California," Kilduff said.