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To better understand climate impacts on pelagic and coastal fisheries in Hawaiʻi, the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) Ocean Modeling Group was awarded $510,000 in grant funding by NOAA’s Climate Program Office.

A suite of projections will be developed to predict future changes through the end of the century in order to inform adaptive management strategies in the Pacific Islands region. Modeling results will be made available through PacIOOS, based at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST).

In the southern portion of the subtropical gyre, Hawaiʻi marine ecosystems are impacted by waters from the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre as well as the western Pacific—creating a distinct regime for ocean life to thrive. Climate change will alter planetary circulation, resulting in potentially longer and more intense marine heat waves in the Pacific and potentially stronger El Niño impacts.

Modeling regional, island-scale changes

Combining state-of-the-art global, regional and island-scale numerical models, the project team strives to identify the mechanisms and predict how large-scale climate will influence Hawaiʻi’s ocean environment and associated impacts to fisheries.

“We will utilize global climate ensemble projections and downscale them to physical and biogeochemistry models specifically for Hawaiʻi. We have validated our model runs with over 50 million observations over the past 10 years, allowing us to train and fine-tune the model,” said project-lead Brian Powell, a professor in SOEST’s Department of Oceanography.

Malte Stuecker, assistant professor in the Department of Oceanography, and PacIOOS Research Scientist Tobias Friedrich, will implement the modeling efforts.

Continue reading on the PacIOOS website.

By Fiona Langenberger

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