RECENT TRENDS IN SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE OFF MEXICO

Salvador E Lluch-Cota, Miguel Tripp-Valdéz, Daniel B Lluch-Cota, Daniel Lluch-Belda, Jan Verbesselt, Hugo Herrera-Cervantes, Jesús Bautista-Romero

Abstract

Changes in global mean sea surface temperature may have potential negative implications for natural and socioeconomic systems; however, measurements to predict trends in different regions have been limited and sometimes contradictory. In this study, an assessment of sea surface temperature change signals in the seas off Mexico is presented and compared to other regions and the world ocean, and to selected basin scale climatic indices of the North Pacific, the Atlantic and the tropical Pacific variability. We identified eight regions with different exposure to climate variability: In the Pacific, the west coast of the Baja California peninsula with mostly no trend, the Gulf of California with a modest cooling trend during the last 20 to 25 years, the oceanic area with the most intense recent cooling trend, the southern part showing an intense warming trend, and a band of no trend setting the boundary between North-Pacific and tropical-Pacific variability patterns; in the Atlantic, the northeast Gulf of Mexico shows cooling, while the western Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean have been warming for more than three decades. Potential interactions with fisheries and coastal sensitive ecosystems are discussed.

Keywords

Climate change, trends, ocean temperatures, regional scale.

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