National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

Puget Sound Marine Waters 2017 Overview Report Released

Image of a NANOOS Oceanic Remote Chemical Analyzer (ORCA) buoy which has a PMEL moored pCO2 system installed

PMEL moored pCO2 (MAPCO2) systems have been installed on NANOOS Oceanic Remote Chemical Analyzer (ORCA) buoys in Twanoh and Dabob Bay as a collaborative effort between PMEL and the University of Washington to collect carbon dioxide data in Puget Sound. Photo Credit: Wendi Ruef/University of Washington

December 19, 2018

A new report finds that Puget Sound’s unusually warm water temperatures that prevailed throughout the West Coast since 2014 finally returned to normal in 2017. Although water temperatures recovered, life within those waters has not. In general, biological observations within Puget Sound revealed that the abundance of many marine animals throughout the food web are still lower than usual. In addition, the region experienced both the wettest spring and driest summer ever recorded in 2017.

The report combines a wealth of data from comprehensive monitoring programs and provides a concise summary of what was happening in Puget Sound’s marine waters during 2017. It covers areas such as climate and weather, river inputs, seawater temperature, salinity, nutrients, dissolved oxygen, ocean pH, phytoplankton, biotoxins, bacteria and pathogens, shellfish resources, and more.

The Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program’s Marine Waters Work Group, who authored the report, has been tracking the health of Puget Sound since 2011. This work group includes scientists from federal, tribal, state and local agencies, academia, nonprofits, and private and volunteer groups.

The work group looked at a number of environmental indicators, including plankton, water quality, climate, and marine life that when, considered together, provide both a long-term view and current assessment of the Sound’s health.

Simone Alin, Richard Feely, Adrienne Sutton, and Sylvia Musielewicz with PMEL's Carbon Program contributed to sections on ocean acidification and ocean and atmospheric CO2.  Nick Bond with UW/JISAO and NOAA/PMEL contributed to sections on large-scale climate variability and wind patterns. 

Read the full report here.