Anomalous Near-Surface Low-Salinity Pulses off the Central Oregon Coast

TitleAnomalous Near-Surface Low-Salinity Pulses off the Central Oregon Coast
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsMazzini, PL, Risien, CM, Barth, JA, Pierce, SD, Erofeev, A, Dever, EP, Kosro, PM, Levine, MD, Shearman, RK, Vardaro, MF
JournalSci Rep
Type of ArticleJournal Article

From mid-May to August 2011, extreme runoff in the Columbia River ranged from 14,000 to over 17,000 m(3)/s, more than two standard deviations above the mean for this period. The extreme runoff was the direct result of both melting of anomalously high snowpack and rainfall associated with the 2010-2011 La NiƱa. The effects of this increased freshwater discharge were observed off Newport, Oregon, 180 km south of the Columbia River mouth. Salinity values as low as 22, nine standard deviations below the climatological value for this period, were registered at the mid-shelf. Using a network of ocean observing sensors and platforms, it was possible to capture the onshore advection of the Columbia River plume from the mid-shelf, 20 km offshore, to the coast and eventually into Yaquina Bay (Newport) during a sustained wind reversal event. Increased freshwater delivery can influence coastal ocean ecosystems and delivery of offshore, river-influenced water may influence estuarine biogeochemistry.


Coastal Endurance