Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change

Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change on the California Current and Upwelling

Project Description:

The California Current is a Pacific Ocean current moving South from Alaska to Baja, California. This wind-driven surface current features the occurrences of upwelling, which brings cold, nutrient rich water to the surface in coastal areas. In this study, the potential impacts of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations on upwelling in the California Current will be investigated using a regional climate model. The study will take advantage of a large ensemble of high resolution climate model output for the present-day and future climate (1965 to 2050), which is from the most comprehensive and detailed regional climate modeling effort to date (runon Titan, which is the fastest supercomputer in the United States). A simple physically-based model will be developed, first verified and calibrated with observations, and then used to evaluate potential climate change impacts on upwelling. The results from this study will provide relevant information for those making policy related decisions for fisheries and other coastal ecosystems.

Advisor: Jeremy Pal,
Project Duration: 2 Years

Student Duties:

The student's duties will include (but will not be limited to):

  • Perform literature review of existing studies;
  • Become knowledgeable in oceanic and atmospheric dynamics required to understand the physical processes of the California Current.
  • Learn Python and other relevant data analysis tools required to convert the high resolution climate model data.
  • Develop simple physically-based model – calibrated with observations – of California Current and upwelling for historical climate.
  • Assess climate change impacts on California Current and upwelling using climate model output and California Current and upwelling model.
  • Document findings.

Student Background Required:

Student should possess an undergraduate degree in civil engineering, environmental engineering, environmental science, or related field. Knowledge of or desire to learn a programming language is strongly encouraged. GIS and Matlab skills are also desirable.