Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What did “Eyes Over Puget Sound” see July 15?

By Sandy Howard, Environmental Assessment program

Tacoma's Commencement Bay on July 15, 2013. (Department of Ecology photo)
What a visual! Our Eyes Over Puget Sound cover shot for July 15 shows the Puyallup River’s milky white discharge from Mt. Rainier flowing into Commencement Bay in Tacoma.

Ain't marine science a hoot?

On this flight, abundant sunshine gives rise to large algal mats in South Sound, Hood Canal and Sinclair Inlet.

Red-brown algal blooms dominate in Budd, Totten, and Eld Inlets.

Jellyfish begin to increase. Northerly winds push algal blooms from Whidbey and Central Basins past Seattle and a bloom in northern Hood Canal southward.

Satellite thermal imagery shows patterns of near-surface mixing and injection of nutrients into the surface layer. Glacial-fed rivers deliver glacial flour into Commencement Bay, stratifying the water and supporting different colored phytoplankton blooms (green, brown, and red).

Since the beginning of 2013, dissolved oxygen is dropping below expected values.

“Eyes Over Puget Sound” combines high-resolution photo observations with satellite images, en route ferry data between Seattle and Victoria BC, and measurements from our moored instruments.
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