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Cross Shelf Heat Flux And Temperature Variability On The California Inner Shelf

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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The inner continental shelf is generally defined as the region from the edge of depth-limited wave breaking to water depths of tens of meters. It is an important region because it is the connection between the coastal ocean and the surf zone. During the summer of 2015 and 2017, two major field experiments were conducted to study water temperature and currents along the central California inner shelf. A headland-and-bay topography characterizes the field site with stretches of sandy or rocky coastlines and two headlands. Vertical profiles of co-located ocean temperature and currents were obtained in a dense cross-shore array from the 50- to the 5-m isobaths during the 2015 experiment. During the 2017 field experiment, vertical profiles of temperatures were obtained in an along shore array on the 9-m isobath that spanned 55 km of coastline. The results show the contributions from coastal upwelling, sea breeze-driven processes, and semidiurnal internal waves to the net transport of heat onto the inner shelf. The first observations of warm internal tide bores propagating to the surf zone, and the spatial and temporal scales of the temperature variability over 55 km of coastline are discussed. The Office of Naval Research funded this research.

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  • Physical and Dynamic Oceanography

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