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Jonathan A. Warrick

Research Geologist

Contact info

Phone: (831) 460-7569
Fax: (831) 427-4748
Pacific Coastal & Marine Science Center
400 Natural Bridges Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


B.Sc., 1993, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

M.Sc., 1995, University Wisconsin-Madison

Ph.D., 2002, University of California, Santa Barbara

Photo of Jon.

Research Activities

My research examines coastal watersheds and their contributions of water, sediment, nutrients and pollutants to the sea. This work focuses both on the patterns and processes that occur within watersheds and also on the geomorphic, oceanographic and ecological effects of river materials discharged to the ocean. I am particularly interested in several themes:

  • river sediment discharge to the sea
  • the effects of climate and land use on rates of river discharge
  • buoyant plumes of river water in the coastal ocean
  • plunging (or hyperpycnal) plumes of river sediment along the ocean seafloor
  • the transport and fate of river sediment in the sea
  • beach and coastal morphodynamics
  • the effects of large dam removals on river and coastal systems.

Work on this final theme has focused on the largest dam removal in U.S. history on the Elwha River, Washington. For more information about this project, see


My recent and most cited publications are listed below. A complete listing of my publications can be found on my CV. Please contact me for copies of these publications.

Most Recent

Warrick, J.A., A.R. Simms, A. Ritchie, E. Steel, P. Dartnell, J. Conrad, and D. Finlayson, 2013, Hyperpycnal-derived fans of the Santa Barbara Channel, California. Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 40, no. 50488, p. 1-6.

Warrick, J.A., M.A. Madej, M.A. Goñi, and R.A. Wheatcroft, 2013, Trends in the suspended-sediment yields of coastal rivers of northern California, 1955-2010. Journal of Hydrology, vol. 489, p. 108-123.

Warrick J.A., 2013, Dispersal of fine sediment in nearshore coastal waters. Journal of Coastal Research, vol. 29, no. 3, p. 579-596

Warrick J.A. and P.L. Barnard, 2012, The offshore export of sand during exceptional discharge from California rivers. Geology, vol. 40, no. 9, pp. 787-790.

Warrick J.A., J.A. Hatten, G.B. Pasternack, A.B. Gray, M.A. Goni, and R.A. Wheatcroft, 2012, The effects of wildfire on the sediment yield of a coastal California watershed, Geological Society of America, Bulletin., vol. 124, no. 7/8, p. 1130-1146.

Warrick J.A. and A.W. Stevens, 2011, A buoyant plume adjacent to a headland - Observations of the Elwha River plume, Continental Shelf Research, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 85-97.

Most Cited

Warrick, J.A., and J.D. Milliman, 2003. Hyperpycnal sediment discharge from semi-arid southern California rivers - implications for coastal sediment budgets. Geology, vol. 31, no. 9, pp. 781-784.

Mertes, L.A.K. and J.A. Warrick, 2001. Measuring flood output from 110 coastal watersheds in California with field measurements and SeaWiFS. Geology, vol. 29, no. 7, pp. 659-662.

Warrick, J.A., P.M. DiGiacomo, S.B. Weisberg, N.P. Nezlin, M. Mengel, B.H. Jones, J.C. Ohlmann, L. Washburn, E.J. Terrill and K.L. Farnsworth, 2007. River plume patterns and dynamics within the Southern California Bight. Continental Shelf Research, vol. 27, pp. 2427-2448.

Warrick, J.A., L.A.K. Mertes, D.A. Siegel, and C. MacKenzie, 2004. Estimating suspended sediment concentrations in turbid coastal waters of the Santa Barbara Channel with SeaWiFS. International Journal of Remote Sensing - Remote Sensing Letters, vol. 25, no. 10, pp. 1995-2002.

Warrick, J.A., L.A.K. Mertes, L. Washburn, D.A. Siegel, 2004. A conceptual model for river water and sediment dispersal in the Santa Barbara Channel, California. Continental Shelf Research, vol. 24, no. 17, pp. 2029-2043.

Warrick, J.A., L.A.K. Mertes, D.A. Siegel, L. Washburn, 2004. Dispersal forcing of a southern California river plume, based on field and remote sensing observations. Geo-Marine Letters, vol. 24, pp. 46-52.

Warrick, J.A., D.A. Fong, 2004. Dispersal scaling from the world's rivers. Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 34, pp. L04301.

Warrick, J.A. and D.M. Rubin, 2007. Suspended-sediment rating-curve response to urbanization and wildfire, Santa Ana River, California. Journal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface, vol. 112, pp. F02018.

Curriculum Vitae

Available as PDF document (112 K).

Files for download

The following files can be used to conduct 'Cobble Cam' grain size analyses on digital photographs as described in Warrick et al. (2009). Please see the read_me.rtf file for more information.

Download all files listed below, as a .zip (compressed, 16K):

Web links


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