Strong sea surface cooling in the eastern equatorial Pacific and implications for Galápagos Penguin conservation
Karnauskas, Kristopher B.
Brown, Christopher W.
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The Galápagos is a flourishing yet fragile ecosystem whose health is particularly sensitive to regional and global climate variations. The distribution of several species, including the Galápagos Penguin, is intimately tied to upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water along the western shores of the archipelago. Here we show, using reliable, high-resolution sea surface temperature observations, that the Galápagos cold pool has been intensifying and expanding northward since 1982. The linear cooling trend of 0.8°C/33 yr is likely the result of long-term changes in equatorial ocean circulation previously identified. Moreover, the northward expansion of the cold pool is dynamically consistent with a slackening of the cross-equatorial component of the regional trade winds—leading to an equatorward shift of the mean position of the Equatorial Undercurrent. The implied change in strength and distribution of upwelling has important implications for ongoing and future conservation measures in the Galápagos.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2015. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 42 (2015): 6432–6437, doi:10.1002/2015GL064456.
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