Paper No. 14
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES AND UPWELLING CONDITIONS OFF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST DURING THE EARLY PLIOCENE
A declining zooplankton population and a deepening thermocline off the California Coast have been linked to anthropogenic climate change. One way to understand these changes is to examine how upwelling and productivity changed during the early Pliocene—the most recent time in earth’s history that global temperatures were warmer than they are today for a sustained period of time. ODP Site 1022 off of Cape Mendocino, California provides a record of Northern California coastal climate and ecology. The alkenone organic proxy provides an estimate of sea surface temperature ~1.6˚C greater than modern averages. However, initial results from diatom assemblages indicate persistence of upwelling-dominating species despite warmer surface waters. My continued study aims to reconcile the persistence of primary producers during the Pliocene warm period with possible applications to the modern California coastal ecosystem as it reacts to anthropogenic climate change.