Long-term environmental changes are expected to affect the frequency and intensity of storm events and the impacts such storms have on the low-lying Gulf Coast where more than 14 million people live, work and play. Over time, coasts are expected to see increasing sea level rise and storm surges, increased flooding, higher water temperatures, increased acidification of our oceans and even changing ocean current patterns.
These changes may alter how ecosystems function, change shipping routes and even the availability of ports.
Yet these changes may occur in ways that are not currently observable or predictable because of the limited availability of long-term environmental datasets. Detecting and understanding long-term change and variability in the environment are the keys to understanding how such changes will affect all sectors of society — from human health, to the health of the ocean systems we rely on. That’s why monitoring changes in the Gulf environment over time is a cross-cutting theme for GCOOS.
Support expansion of the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network to identify changes in flora and fauna, especially in sensitive regions such as the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
Collaborate with NOAA Fisheries, commercial and recreational fisheries sector partners to identify shifts in species type, abundance and location.
Collaborate with marine mammal and sea turtle researchers to identify shifts in species type, abundance and location of these protected and endangered species.
Support further development of the GCOOS Hypoxia/Nutrient Data Portal to assess changes in water quality over time.