Emergent Anthropogenic Trends in California Current Upwelling

Riley Brady, University of Colorado

Photo of Riley Brady

Upwelling in the California Current System (CCS) sustains a productive ecosystem and is mediated by alongshore, equatorward wind stress. A decades-old hypothesis proposes that global warming will accelerate these upwelling-favorable winds. Recent analyses provide empirical support for upwelling intensification in the poleward portion of the CCS. However, these studies rely on proxies for upwelling and are limited in their ability to distinguish anthropogenic forcing from internal climate variability. Here we estimate simulated changes in CCS upwelling from 1920 to 2100 using monthly output from a single climate model ensemble, where divergences among simulations can be attributed entirely to internal climate variability. Our projections suggest that CCS upwelling will become more intense in the spring and less intense in the summer as a result of anthropogenic climate change. Anthropogenic changes in upwelling will emerge primarily in the second half of the century.

Abstract Author(s): Riley X. Brady, Michael A. Alexander, Nicole S. Lovenduski, Ryan R. Rykaczewski.