Bight Watch Information System

(Image: screen capture from Bight Watch showing the Pacific Coast during the 1997-1998 El Nino.)

One the main goals of the Climate Change and the Southern California Bight Project is to develop and apply tools to integrate, synthesize and visualize information as vehicles for the effective transmission of this data, information and knowledge to scientists, businesses, policy-makers and the general public.

As such, we have begun examining the influence of large-scale oceanographic (climate related) processes on the coastal conditions in the Southern California Bight (SCB). The coastal conditions of interest include such variables as:

  • water temperature
  • sea surface height
  • current velocity
  • concentrations of chlorophyll and oxygen
  • distribution and abundance of selected planktonic and pelagic species

As part of this effort, we will store and communicate the results of this work in a web-based, interactive geographic information system, the Bight Watch Information System. Please check back soon for a link to Bight Watch.

Preliminary Findings
Even though the SCB is a quiescent region, its interannual variability in sea surface temperature is closely linked to the interannual variability of the west coast of the USA and Baja, Mexico, which is in turn closely linked to that of the North Pacific Basin.

Technical Information
Technical InformationThe Bight Watch Information Systemis software to process and analyze empirical orthogonal function (EOF) products that are the basis of many climate indices. EOF analysis is a decomposition of a signal or data set in terms of orthogonal basis functions which are determined from the data. It finds both time series and spatial patterns. The software provides tools to examine the relationship between these indices and time series information from satellite imagery, oceanographic and fishery surveys, and oceanographic models. When loaded onto a server the software provides to web clients interactive viewing of the data, who can then download the information to their computer.

Join Us
We wish assemble a team of oceanographers and climate scientists from Southern California who are interested in working on the two goals stated above. This team will submit proposals to support the collaborative effort. If you are interested, please contact me at