Local and large-scale climate forcing of Puget Sound oceanographic properties on seasonal to interdecadal timescales
The influence of climate on Puget Sound oceanographic properties is investigated on seasonal to interannual timescales using continuous profile data at 16 stations from 1993 to 2002 and records of sea surface temperature (SST) and sea surface salinity (SSS) from 1951 to 2002. Principal components analyses of profile data identify indices representing 42%, 58%, and 56% of the total variability at depth-station combinations for temperature, salinity, and density, respectively, and 22% for water column stratification. Variability in the leading pattern of Puget Sound water temperature and salinity profiles is well correlated with local surface air temperatures and freshwater inflows to Puget Sound from major river basins, respectively. SST and SSS anomalies are informative proxies for the leading patterns of variations in Puget Sound temperature and salinity profiles. Using this longer time history of observations, we find that SST and SSS anomalies also have significant correlations with Aleutian Low, El Nino-Southern Oscillation, and Pacific Decadal Oscillation variations in winter that can persist for up to three seasons or reemerge the following year. However, correlations with large-scale climate variations are weaker compared to those with local environmental forcing parameters.