Research

Southern California Bight Project Partners

• Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
• Los Angeles County, Los Angeles City, and Orange County Sanitation
• National Marine Fisheries Services
• Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission
• Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System
• Southern California Coastal Water Research Project
• University of California, Irvine
• University of California, Los Angeles, Institute of the Environment
• University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
• University of California, Santa Barbara - San Diego State University

A main scientific goal of the Climate Change in the Southern California Bight 2020 project is to increase communication and promote collaboration between the diverse group of researchers that deal with all aspects of ocean climate change issues in our area. An active set of marine climate scientists work within USC Dornsife, elsewhere in the University, at other universities throughout California, and in government agencies at many levels. Although many of these scientists already know each other, we don’t always talk across institutional boundaries and we are often hard-pressed to keep up with all of the rapidly developing new research on global change that is relevant to our Southern California coastal environment.

Accordingly, one of the major science efforts of our 2020 project is to hold a series of workshops for scientists- including ocean biologists, chemists, and physicists, as well as management agency representatives- to facilitate cross-fertilization among the many climate-relevant data sets that are being produced by ourselves (such as the San Pedro Ocean Time Series [SPOTS]) and many of our colleagues (such as the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigation (CalCOFI).

The first of these scientific data and idea-sharing workshops was held at USC in October 2010. The participants (see call-out box for list of partners) agreed that this workshop was extremely successful in increasing mutual awareness among this group of scientists about each other’s work, and a number of new connections and collaborations may emerge as a result.

Our next workshop, Inside Out: Modeling and Monitoring Climate Change in the Southern California Bight, is scheduled for October 3, 2012 and will be held at Doheny Library on USC's campus. The goal of this meeting is to examine both the global impacts of climate change on the Southern California Bight and also how the local urban environment might modulate climate change impacts at the local level (click here for agenda).

The other scientific goal of this 2020 project is to begin our own effort here within the Dornsife College to begin to collect, collate, synthesize, and interpret the diversity of climate-relevant marine data streams available locally.  To reach this ambitious goal, postdoctoral scholar Dr. Lori Luo is using the expertise she acquired on data assimilation and visualization during her Ph.D. work at SUNY Syracuse to put the ongoing environmental changes in our Southern California coastal region into a broader regional climate change context.

With the help of 2020 steering committee member Prof. Dale Kiefer, Dr. Luo  is currently looking at how temporal and spatial trends in climate change-related variables like sea surface temperature and ocean color (chlorophyll) may scale between the Southern California bight and the entire North Pacific Ocean. To do this, she plans to integrate many sources of long-term climate data ranging from NASA satellite records to biological oceanographic time series and surveys.  Dr. Luo and Dr. Kiefer presented results from some of this work at the recent American Geophysical Union's Annual Meeting in San Francisco this December, 2011. If you are interested in learning more about this work, please contact Dr. Dale Kiefer.