Climate Change Impacts Report

Plot of sea level rise in San Francisco
Plot of sea level rise in San Francisco.

"Climate Change Impacts: Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries" was released to the public at California Academy of Sciences Planetarium on June 3, 2010, followed by a panel discussion with some of the report's authors.

The report, authored by a joint working group of the Farallones and Cordell Bank marine sanctuary advisory councils, provides a synopsis of the best available knowledge on observed and projected physical and biological impacts from climate change in north-central California coast and ocean ecosystems. It is the outcome of a year and a half of intensive collaboration among local experts representing 16 agencies, organizations, and academic institutions to assess and downscale global climate change information into a regional climate change survey . Existing observations and science-based expectations were used to identify an extensive suite of potential climate change impacts to habitats, plants, and animals within the San Francisco Bay Area's unique ocean and coastal zones. In addition, the working group made recommendations for five lines of future action for sanctuary management.

Key issues identified include:

  • Observed increase in sea level (100 year record at mouth of San Francisco Bay)
  • Expected increase in coastal erosion associated with changes in sea level and storm waves
  • Observed decrease in spring runoff of freshwater through San Francisco Bay
  • Observed increase in precipitation variability (drier dry years, wetter wet years)
  • Observed increase in surface ocean temperature offshore of the continental shelf
  • Observed increase in winds driving coastal upwelling of nutrient-rich waters and associated observed decrease in surface ocean temperature over the continental shelf
  • Observed increase in extreme weather events (winds, waves, storms)
  • Expected decrease in seawater pH, due to uptake of carbon dioxide by the ocean
  • Observed northward shift of key species (including Humboldt squid, volcano barnacle, gray whales, bottlenose dolphins)
  • Possible shift in dominant phytoplankton (from diatom to dinoflagellate blooms)
  • The potential for effects of climate change to be compounded by parallel environmental changes associated with local human activities

Download Climate Change Impacts Report Executive Summary (164KB PDF)

Download Climate Change Impacts Report (2.8MB PDF)

Download Press Release (2.8MB PDF)

Climate Change Impacts Report References (960 KB PDF)