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Marine Salmon Investigations Program

2005 Water Temperatures at Auke Creek Were Second Highest on Record

Figure 1, see caption
Figure 1.  Average annual temperature of Auke Creek, Alaska, 1964-2005.

The average annual water temperature at Auke Creek for 2005 was tied with 2004 as the second warmest year on record. Daily temperatures are routinely collected at Auke Creek as part of the ABL salmon investigation program. The average temperature for 2005 was 8.7C, and only 1998 was warmer at 8.9C. The 1964-2005 average annual water temperature at Auke Creek was 7.2C. Daily water temperatures in 2005 were above average from January through August, and 19 record high temperatures were set during this period, most in April and May.

Temperatures were near average from September through December, and on 34 of those days temperatures were slightly below average, mainly because of the cool, rainy weather. Over the last four decades there has been a trend of increasing water temperature at Auke Creek, and the average annual temperature during this period increased from 6.1 to 8.3C (Fig. 1 above). Seven of the highest annual temperatures occurred within the last decade.

Water temperatures can have a significant effect on pink salmon. During the last 33 years, as water temperatures at Auke Creek were on an increasing trend, the annual migrations of pink salmon fry occurred earlier in the year. The trend culminated in a 2005 migration that occurred 18 days earlier than in 1973. The earlier pink salmon runs at Auke Creek may have negative effects on survival of fry, and Auke Creek may eventually become an unsuitable habitat for spawning salmon.

By Jerry Taylor

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