Observing the Ocean

From beachgoers to surfers to fishermen of all sorts to cargo ships to beachfront communities and municipal wastewater managers, we all need and use information about our local ocean waters. But where does it all come from?

The Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS) – part of the national U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) – works to collect, integrate and deliver coastal and ocean observations in order to improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect the environment. SCCOOS serves a diverse stakeholder community of managers and planners, operational decision-makers, scientists, and the general public.

Join SCCOOS Executive Director Clarissa Anderson as she describes how SCCOOS technology and observational programs provide information critical to decision-making related to climate change, coastal hazards, marine ecosystems, fisheries, water quality, and marine operations.

Watch Research for Resilience on a Changing Planet – Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System.

Drought in the West

Climate scientist Julie Kalansky discusses how drought in California and Nevada is a common occurrence, with the attendant water restrictions and threat of severe wildfires bringing the reality of climate change into sharp focus. Future climate projections for the region suggest a trend toward more extremes, including more severe and prolonged drought as well as exceptionally wet years. Learn about the science of drought and how the Scripps-based California Nevada Climate Applications (CNAP) program works to provide drought tracking and early warning in support of drought preparedness and resilience in the face of a changing climate.

Watch Research for Resilience on a Changing Planet – Drought in the West: Research and Scientific Tools for Coping with Climate Change.

Fire, Extreme Rainfall, and Debris Flows: Cascading Disasters in a Changing Climate

As the climate warms across the globe, California is faced with adapting to a range of climate-related challenges – from drought and increased wildfire activity, to more extreme rain events. Many of these climate change phenomena work in concert to trigger catastrophic events such as post-wildfire debris flows like the one that devastated Montecito, California in January 2018. Join Scripps meteorologist Nina Oakley to learn how research is helping us understand, anticipate, and prepare for these cascading disasters in our new climate reality.

Watch Fire, Extreme Rainfall, and Debris Flows: Cascading Disasters in a Changing Climate – Impacts of Climate Change in California and The West.

Getting Warmer? Ocean Temperatures off the California Coast 

Local fishermen, surfers, and beachgoers know that ocean temperatures off California’s coast vary, often expectedly, and sometimes unexpectedly – you know, when the water is suddenly below sixty-degrees in the middle of an August heatwave! Join Scripps oceanographer and remote observation vehicle expert Katherine Zaba to learn how scientists deploy innovative ocean technology and just how these ingeniously built sentinels work to monitor and help us understand ocean warming phenomena, like marine heatwaves, the well-known “blob” and El Niño events, that affect not only California’s coastline, but our entire climate regime.

Watch Getting Warmer? Ocean Temperatures off the California Coast – Impacts of Climate Change in California and The West.

The Art and Science of Atmospheric Rivers and the Changing Hydroclimate of the West

California’s unique geography, with some of the continent’s highest mountains situated close to the broad expanse of the Pacific Ocean helps make California’s precipitation regime the most volatile in the country. This volatility, characterized by large natural swings between drought and extremely rainy years make water resource management in California notoriously difficult. Global climate change is expected to exacerbate the volatility by decreasing the frequency of regional precipitation while increasing its intensity. Join meteorologist Alexander Gershunov to learn how he and other researchers quantify and analyze this volatility to understand the mechanisms behind these changes, and project their anticipated impacts on California.

Watch The Art and Science of Atmospheric Rivers and the Changing Hydroclimate of the West – Impacts of Climate Change in California and The West.