Use of climatology data products to understand variation in the Salish Sea: The NANOOS Climatology App delivers

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Newton, Jan; Mayorga, Emilio; Allan, Jonathan; Risien, Craig; Tanner, Troy; Wold, Rachel; Sprenger, Amy; Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2016 : Vancouver, B.C.)
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Fresh Water Studies; Life Sciences; Marine Biology; Natural Resources and Conservation
artifact description
The Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS) has developed a new Climatology App as part of its online data portal, the NANOOS Visualization System ( The NVS Climatology App provides users with a rich interface to access long-term average conditions (climatology) and present-day departures from average (anomaly) data visualizations from buoys, satellites, and weather stations in the Pacific Northwest, enabling users to compare current conditions against conditions measured in the past. The web app consists of two components: climatologies from selected buoy, shore and land sites, and overlays from remote sensing data. We use graphics from this app to illustrate the development of the warm Pacific Ocean anomaly known as the ‘blob’ first offshore and then within the Salish Sea from 2013-2015, as well as dynamics of the currently developing El Niño.Climatologies depicting long-term mean and standard deviations with real-time data on the same plot allow instant visualization of how different conditions are from normal. Sea surface temperature deviations during 2014 and 2015 were over 2 standard deviations from normal for many assets. Variables differ according to asset but include: water temperature, salinity, oxygen, wave height, peak wave period, water level, air temperature, wind speed, and barometric pressure. We compare offshore assets with those within the Salish Sea to highlight how anomalous recent conditions have been, not only for temperature but for other variables affecting the nearshore. Overlays depicting monthly means and anomalies derived from satellite data for chlorophyll, sea temperature, and mean sea level provide large-scale definition of the spatial extent of the blob and El Niño. Over time these plots illustrate the evolution of such features and their influence on the Salish Sea. The app currently shows 12 assets within the Salish Sea; we hope to add more data records from the Salish Sea.