Jet stream drives summer temperature, plankton growth in Oregon
August 6, 2007
Short-term shifts in the jet stream off the Oregon coast drive changes in ocean temperature and plankton growth during summer months, reports a new study published in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings are significant because they could help improve weather prediction and bolster understanding of ocean food chains along the northwestern United States. Plankton are the base of the food chain for important ocean fisheries in the region.
John Bane, a North Carolina University research who was lead author of the paper, found that the north-south displacement of the jet stream along the Oregon Coast directly affect the upwelling strength during the summer. Analyzing wind, temperature, and biomass readings collected by ocean sensors over the summer of 2001, Yvette Spitz of Oregon State University led the development of a computer model that shows how shifts in the jet stream affect ocean upwelling and nutrient flow.
Overall, the model suggests that when the jet stream is to the north, southward winds drive upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water. A shift of the jet stream to the south, disrupts water upwelling and nutrient flow.
CITATION: John M. Bane, Yvette H. Spitz, Ricardo M. Letelier, and William T. Peterson (2007). Jet stream intraseasonal oscillations drive dominant ecosystem variations in Oregon’s summertime coastal upwelling system. PNAS early online edition August 6, 2007.