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NOAA – Report Climate Change Impacts on North Central California Coast

On June 3 a report was released by the Joint Working Group of the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries Advisory Councils concerning the impacts of climate change along the California coast in and around the San Francisco Bay area. The report summary states it “does not assess current conditions, or predict future changes. It presents scientific observations and expectations to identify potential issues related to changing climate – with an emphasis on the most likely ecological impacts and the impacts that would be most severe if they occur.”

Among the issues noted in the report are:
“an observed increase in sea level as recorded at the mouth of San Francisco Bay; extreme weather events (winds, waves, storms) and resultant coastal erosion; an increase in ocean acidity and more extreme weather patterns. Bay area roadways and sewage systems have been flooded by unusually heavy rainfall. It is noted that some animals, such as Humboldt squid, gray whales, and bottlenose dolphins have experienced a northward shift, which can affect other species in their changing range. In the case of the gray whales, they now must travel much farther north and longer to find food.”

As a result of these initial findings the sanctuary staff has begun drafting what it calls an Ocean Climate Initiative Action Plan.

-Steven Silverberg