Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Eyes Over Puget Sound: More snow means more flow!

April has kicked off with warm weather and sunshine! Plankton blooms are spreading across Puget Sound and we still see white snow up on the mountains.

Click to view this month's report

It's been snowing a lot in the mountains this winter. Our passes currently have 80-90% of the snow that's expected for this time of year, and some areas are closer to 100%.

This suggests that our summer freshwater flows into Puget Sound may be higher than last year, and much closer to normal. However, warm weather could cause an early thaw, leading to high river flows early in the summer that reduce to a mere trickle by mid-summer.

Only time will tell what the next couple months have in store for Puget Sound. We will be watching and keep you included in what we see.

The many colors of Puget Sound

As of April, the spring plankton bloom has extended across central and south Puget Sound. Our ferry data shows that chlorophyll has been increasing since March 25 and expanding across these stretches of the Sound. Many areas of Puget Sound are starting to darken to a reddish brown as they bloom with life.

April 2016 Eyes Over Puget Sound
Click through the arrows to scan photos from April's flight, or follow the link to Flickr to see them all.

Will jellies retake the stage?

Water temperatures are still warmer than usual, just as they were throughout last year. Do you remember what species flourished in the warm waters of 2015? The jellies! We saw numerous jellyfish patches in the inlets of southern Puget Sound and Sinclair Inlet, which is unusual this early in the year.

Our WCC Individual Placement intern Mattie Michalek
ready to collect water samples in the field.

More in this issue:
Seed Shrimp and oxygen

Check out a feature from our Eyes Under Puget Sound team: the Seed Shrimp! These tiny burrowing ostracods are about the size of a sesame seed and they're April's Critter of the Month.

Also in this issue, our Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) Intern Mattie explains how we take the samples we collect in Puget Sound to the lab to analyze oxygen in seawater.

What's Eyes Over Puget Sound?

Eyes Over Puget Sound combines high-resolution photo observations with satellite images, ferry data from travel between Seattle and Victoria BC, and measurements from our moored instruments. We use a seaplane to travel between our monitoring stations because they are so far apart. Once a month, we take photos of Puget Sound water conditions and turn those out, along with data from our stations, in the monthly Eyes Over Puget Sound report.

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