Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Eyes Over Puget Sound: A look at 2016 in photos

After two years of very warm air and record-high water temperatures, Puget Sound is close to normal. Between the Blob warming our waters in 2015 and the past year of El Niño, we're still a bit warmer than usual, but we're in better shape than we've seen in some time.

Learn about how the global climate affects water quality, see the impacts warmer waters had on the Sound and compare photos from flights throughout 2016 in this year-end summary.

Nov. 2016 - Squaxin Passage
Feb. 2016 - Willipa Bay

We had some major rains this year! They sent mud and runoff into our rivers, downstream and out into the Sound. 2016 began and ended with sediment dynamically painting our waters.

Sept. 2016 - Liberty Bay

The very low summer river flows we experienced last year reflected climate predictions for the northwest. Our rivers are like a cold faucet: turned up high, their flow keeps waters cool, moving and full of oxygen. With the river taps turned way down, marine waters don't get mixed as much which causes warmer temperatures and higher salinities. As a result, we saw abundant jellyfish, floating macro-algae and Noctiluca blooms.

Sept. 2016 - Budd Inlet
Aug. 2016 - Eld Inlet

Surprisingly, only south Puget Sound developed very low summer oxygen levels in 2016. By fall, La Niña came with a punch! This brought more rain and cool air temperatures. But the question remains: will this be an unusual La Niña?

July 2016 - Edmonds Underwater Park

What's Eyes Over Puget Sound?

Eyes Over Puget Sound combines high-resolution photo observations with data from our monthly monitoring stations, from our regional partners and from instruments we have on ferries. We use a seaplane to travel between many of 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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