Developing ocean climate change indicators for the north-central California coast and ocean

Authors: Benét Duncan, Kelley D. Johnson, Thomas H. Suchanek, Maria Brown, John L. Largierc

The Ocean Climate Indicators Project, developed for the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS), yielded the first set of physical and biological ocean climate indicators specifically developed for the north-central California coast and ocean region, which extends from Point Arena to Point Año Nuevo and includes the ocean shorelines of the San Francisco metropolitan area. This case study produced a series of physical and biological indicator categories through a best professional judgment (BPJ) process with an interdisciplinary group of over 50 regional research scientists and marine resource managers from a wide range of state and federal agencies, NGOs, and universities. A working group of research scientists and marine resource managers used this set of ocean climate indicators to develop the Ocean Climate Indicators Monitoring Inventory and Plan. The Plan includes monitoring goals and objectives common for eight physical and four biological indicators; specific goals for each indicator; monitoring strategies and activities; an inventory of available monitoring data; opportunities for expanding or improving existing or new monitoring approaches; and case studies with specific examples of the indicators’ utility for natural resource management and basic scientific research. Beyond developing indicators that support effective science-based management decisions, this scalable process established and strengthened mutually beneficial connections between scientists and managers, resulting in indicators that had broad support of project participants, were quickly adopted by the GFNMS, and could be used by managers and scientists from this region and beyond.

Full Publication