Climate change and wind intensification in coastal upwelling ecosystems


Syndeman, W.J., García-Reyes, M., Schoelam, D.S., Rykaczewski, R.R., Thompson, S.A., Black, B.A., Bograd, S.J. 2014. Climate change and wind intensification in coastal upwelling ecosystems. Science 4 July 2014: 345 (6192), 77-80. DOI:10.1126/science.1251635


In 1990, Andrew Bakun proposed that increasing greenhouse gas concentrations would force intensification of upwelling-favorable winds in eastern boundary current systems that contribute substantial services to society. Because there is considerable disagreement about whether contemporary wind trends support Bakun’s hypothesis, we performed a meta-analysis of the literature on upwelling-favorable wind intensification. The preponderance of published analyses suggests that winds have intensified in the California, Benguela, and Humboldt upwelling systems and weakened in the Iberian system over time scales ranging up to 60 years; wind change is equivocal in the Canary system. Stronger intensification signals are observed at higher latitudes, consistent with the warming pattern associated with climate change. Overall, reported changes in coastal winds, although subtle and spatially variable, support Bakun’s hypothesis of upwelling intensification in eastern boundary current systems.