The Space-Time Scales of Variability in Oceanic Thermal Structure Off the Central California Coast.
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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In the active coastal upwelling regime off Pt. Sur, there was an equatorward surface jet 15 to 40km offshore, and a weaker poleward undercurrent near the continental slope. Based on tendency analyses of a set of quasi-synoptic hydrographic surveys, both upwelling and mixing were important in lowering sea-surface temperature SST. The coastal bathymetry influenced the in situ property distributions around Pt. Sur, and the satellite-derived SST patterns. Based on the satellite data, the upwelling frontal boundary meandered with space and time scales of about 80km alongshore and 30 to 40 days, respectively. Over several months, the major upwelling frontal boundary gradually moves the order of 50km offshore. The major abrupt decreases in coastal SST of order 3C in certain years were attributed to the spring transition to coastal upwelling. The four E1 Nino episodes of the past 12 years were evident in coastal SST. E1 Nino events may initiate, and apparently strengthen, the spring transitions. Based on daily surface and subsurface temperature, correlation time scales ranged from several days subsurface to almost ten days surface.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography