Meteorological influences on sea surface temperatures in Queen Charlotte Sound

Abstract

Short-term variations of sea surface temperatures (SST) over Queen Charlotte Sound have been poorly understood, mainly due to the lack of data, and therefore hardly predictable. A potentially important consequence of SST variations is the choice of salmon homeward migratory route, which has a significant impact on commercial fisheries. Until recently, predictions of fish migration routes have been made by using SST data at Kains Island, one of the lighthouse stations at the northern end of Vancouver Island. Since the early nineties, AES buoy stations have provided a new set of hourly SST in offshore waters, which may be a better representation of the fish marine environment. This thesis is using visual inspection, statistical analysis and AVHRR satellite imagery to show that the SST at Kains Island do not represent those over the main portion of the Queen Charlotte Sound, but only the SST within 20 km to 30 km from the coast. The SST at the buoy 46207 gives a better representation of the area. Furthermore, the most significant SST variations are caused by upwelling associated with an offshore high pressure system and a lee trough along the west coast of Vancouver Island.Science, Faculty ofEarth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Department ofGraduat

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