The Strait of Georgia Marine Environment
The Strait of Georgia is considered an inland sea, as it is located between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia. It is connected by a channel, Discovery Passage, to Johnstone Strait in the north, while the main channels to the south are Haro Strait and Rosario Strait, which connect the Strait of Georgia to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Shallow sills restrict water movement between the Strait of Georgia and the Pacific Ocean, so waters deeper than 100 m in the Strait of Georgia have a long residence time and are replaced only during deep-water renewal events that occur seasonally (Johannessen and Macdonald 2009). The Strait, particularly the Southern Strait, is mostly influenced by estuarine circulation driven by the Fraser River and smaller rivers and streams, and to a lesser degree by tidally driven interchange with off shore waters through the Juan de Fuca and Johnstone straits (Johannessen and Macdonald 2009).
Expected changes in the physical environment of the Strait, under climate change include the following:
Increases in sea surface temperatures
Increased precipitation and extreme precipitation events, and decrease in snowpack
Changes in the temperature, seasonal patterns, and other characteristics of runoff
Decreased salinity and changes in seasonal salinity patterns
Increased stratification of ocean waters
Deoxygenation of ocean waters
Decreases in ocean pH
Spotlight on Environmental Research in the Strait of Georgia
Below we provide some information on ongoing research on the marine environment of the Strait. These projects have been reported in the report ”State of physical, biological, and selected fishery resources of Pacific Canadian marine ecosystems in 2012”. See the pages below for some examples of important studies currently being carried out in the Strait of Georgia.
VENUS coastal network, part of the Ocean Networks Canada Observatory, is a cabled undersea laboratory for ocean researchers and explorers. VENUS delivers real time information from seafloor instruments via fibre optic cables to the University of Victoria, BC. On this website, you can see ocean data live, recent and archived as well as learn more about on-going research.
The Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) is a regional climate service centre at the University of Victoria that provides practical information on the physical impacts of climate variability and change in the Pacific and Yukon Region of Canada.
From ”State of physical, biological, and selected fishery resources of Pacific Canadian marine ecosystems in 2012” Peter Chandler, Physical Oceanographer at the Institute of Ocean Sciences supervises DFO’s British Columbia Shore Station Oceanographic Program with… Read more »
From ”State of physical, biological, and selected fishery resources of Pacific Canadian marine ecosystems in 2012” Diane Masson and Patrick Cummins of Fisheries and Oceans Canada compared temperature contours from a single station in the central deep basin of… Read more »