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Climate Change: Impacts on Coastal Systems. Presentation by Michael Harte Oregon Sea Grant Director of Marine Resource Management College of Oceanic & Atmospheric Sciences OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY. Oregon’s Likely Future Climate. Source: Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington.

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climate change impacts on coastal systems

Climate Change: Impacts on Coastal Systems

Presentation by Michael HarteOregon Sea Grant

Director of Marine Resource Management College of Oceanic & Atmospheric SciencesOREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

sea level changes
Sea Level Changes

Sea level will likely increase


Source: Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington

Scientific Consensus on Impacts on the PNW from future climate change


Impacts depend on where you live on the coast, natural characteristics and influence of coastal development.


Potential Impacts:

  • Increased coastal erosion.
  • High tide inundation of very low-lying coastal margins.
  • Episodic flooding of higher coastal & estuarine margins.
  • Salinisation of adjacent rivers and streams and landward intrusion of saline groundwater.

Potential Impacts:

  • Drainage problems in adjacent low-lying areas.
  • Loss of intertidal areas and beaches where hard beach protection exists.
  • Increased rates and frequency of wave run-up and overtopping of natural and man made coastal defenses.

If the predictions are right - Ocean Ecosystems

Harley et al. 2006

Intensified upwelling? Increased ocean temperature?

Increased ocean acidity? Changes in plankton & food chains?


Sea Temperature Anomaly

Upwelling anomaly

Norton and Mason 2005

Changes in types of fish and their abundance

  • California current ecosystem has changed often in the past
  • Any changes due to predicted warming will be difficult to detect because of high natural variability
  • Changes that do occur will affect commercial fisheries and recreational fisheries
salmon loss of habitat
Salmon - Loss of Habitat

Salmon Habitat Lost in OR, ID, WA

  • By 2030 OR could lose15% of its salmon habitat
  • By 2090 OR could lose 45% of its salmon habitat

ISAB Climate Change Report 2007

  • OR will lose more habitat than WA or ID
  • Trout habitat less impacted than salmon habitat because salmon are restricted to warmer waters by dams and other barriers
salmon ocean survival
Salmon - Ocean survival
  • Warmer waters reduce salmon survival:
    • Decreased food supply
    • Higher metabolic rates and less growth
    • Increased migration distances
    • Increased predation by warm water species

Source: Peterson et al. 2006

take home messages
Take Home Messages
  • Climate impacts on terrestrial coastal systems depend on location - north or south, local characteristics and nature & extent of human development
  • Changes in marine ecosystems will be unpredictable & difficult to separate out from natural variability for some time to come
  • Salmon populations are particularly sensitive to climate change at all life stages -
  • Oregon’s coastal ecosystems - marine and terrestrial - are adapted for change.
  • Human development and dependence on coastal services may not be so adaptable to change unless it is planned for.