Record-high specific conductance and temperature in San Francisco Bay during water year 2014

Open-File Report 2015-1213
By: , and 



The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has operated a water-quality monitoring network in San Francisco Bay since the late 1980s (Buchanan and others, 2015). This network includes 19 stations in the bay; currently, 8 stations are in operation (fig. 1). All eight stations are equipped with specific conductance (which can be related to salinity) and water-temperature sensors that record measurements at 15-minute intervals. Water quality in the bay constantly changes with the ocean tides and with seasonal and interannual differences in river inflows. Our network was designed to observe and characterize some of these changes in the bay across space and over time. Our data demonstrated a high degree of variability both in specific conductance and temperature at time scales from tidal to annual and also revealed longer term changes that are likely to influence overall environmental health in the bay (San Francisco Estuary Institute, 2014). Figure 1. Locations of fixed water-quality monitoring stations in San Francisco Bay, California, for the 2014 water year (October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014).

In water year (WY) 2014 (October 1, 2013, through September 30, 2014), our network measured record-high values of specific conductance and water temperature at several stations during a period of very little freshwater inflow from the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta and other tributaries because of severe drought conditions in California. This report summarizes our observations for WY2014 and compares them to previous years that had different levels of freshwater inflow.

Suggested Citation

Downing-Kunz, M.A., Work, P.A., and Shellenbarger, G.G., 2015, Record-high specific conductance and temperature in San Francisco Bay during water year 2014 (ver. 1.1, December 28, 2015): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1213, 4 p.

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

ISSN: 0196-1497 (print)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Instrumentation and Data Collection
  • Water Year 2014 Records
  • Annual-Mean Values and Relation to Freshwater Inflow
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Suggested citation

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Record-high specific conductance and temperature in San Francisco Bay during water year 2014
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2015-1213
DOI 10.3133/ofr20151213
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center, San Francisco Bay-Delta
Description 4 p.
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, San Francisco Bay
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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