BeringClimate: An Evolving View of Ecosystem Change in the Bering Sea

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Tuesday, 31 January 2006: 9:45 AM
BeringClimate: An Evolving View of Ecosystem Change in the Bering Sea
A312 (Georgia World Congress Center)
James E. Overland, NOAA/OAR/PMEL, Seattle, WA; and S. Rodionov and N. N. Soreide

There is an explosion of interest in Northern Hemisphere climate, and new science programs are highlighting the importance of recent changes in the Arctic on mid latitude climate impacts. Fisheries from the Bering Sea represent over 40 % of the landed U.S. catch, and this ecosystem is reorganizing toward a warmer, ice-free sub-arctic system. The Bering Sea seems to be responding to larger-scale changes going on in the broader Arctic. This is a symmetric problem: climate change impacts ecosystems, and ecosystems serve as indicators for climate change.

We have developed and present near realtime ecological and climatic surveillance indices for the Bering Sea, based on a retrospective protocol for detection of change. These include weather, oceanographic and climate data, sea ice data, and fisheries and other biological data. The balance of the evidence ties northward shifts of fish, invertebrate and marine mammal populations to physical changes. This information is made available to the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council and other interested parties. A website, www.beringclimate.noaa.gov , presents an overview of the current Bering Sea Status, a Quick Data Summary, and access and analysis tools for a set of Bering Sea indicator time series.