The Importance of Climate Variability to Wind-Driven Modulation of Hypoxia in Chesapeake Bay Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract Extensive hypoxia remains a problem in Chesapeake Bay, despite some reductions in estimated nutrient inputs. An analysis of a 58-yr time series of summer hypoxia reveals that a significant fraction of the interannual variability observed in Chesapeake Bay is correlated to changes in summertime wind direction that are the result of large-scale climate variability. Beginning around 1980, the surface pressure associated with the summer Bermuda high has weakened, favoring winds from a more westerly direction, the direction most correlated with observed hypoxia. Regression analysis suggests that the long-term increase in hypoxic volume observed in this dataset is only accounted for when both changes in wind direction and nitrogen loading are considered.

publication date

  • June 1, 2010