Timescales for determining temperature and dissolved oxygen trends in the Long Island Sound (LIS) estuary
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Timescales for determining temperature and dissolved oxygen trends in the Long Island Sound (LIS) estuary

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  • Journal Title:
    Continental Shelf Research
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    Long-term time series represent a critical part of the oceanographic community's efforts to discern natural and anthropogenically forced variations in the environment. They provide regular measurements of climate relevant indicators including temperature, oxygen concentrations, and salinity. When evaluating time series, it is essential to isolate long-term trends from autocorrelation in data and noise due to natural variability. Herein we apply a statistical approach, well-established in atmospheric time series, to key parameters in the U.S. east coast's Long Island Sound estuary (LIS). Analysis shows that the LIS time series (established in the early 1990s) is sufficiently long to detect significant trends in physical-chemical parameters including temperature (T) and dissolved oxygen (DO). Over the last two decades, overall (combined surface and deep) LIS T has increased at an average rate of 0.08 ± 0.03 °C yr−1 while overall DO has dropped at an average rate of 0.03 ± 0.01 mg L−1yr−1 since 1994 at the 95% confidence level. This trend is notably faster than the global open ocean T trend (0.01 °C yr−1), as might be expected for a shallower estuarine system. T and DO trends were always significant for the existing time series using four month data increments. Rates of change of DO and T in LIS are strongly correlated and the rate of decrease of DO concentrations is consistent with the expected reduced solubility of DO at these higher temperatures. Thus, changes in T alone, across decadal timescales can account for between 33 and 100% of the observed decrease in DO. This has significant implications for other dissolved gases and the long-term management of LIS hypoxia.
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    Continental Shelf Research, 151, 1-7
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    Accepted Manuscript
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