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Subtidal Cross-Shelf Circulation on the Northern California Shelf.

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Doctoral thesis,

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Moored time series from the Coastal Ocean Dynamics Experiment CODE, Shelf Mixed Layer Experiment SMILE, Sediment Transport Events over the Shelf and Slope STRESS study, and Northern California Coastal Circulation Study NCCCS are used to study subtidal cross-shelf circulation over the northern California shelf. The northern California shelf, like much of the United States Pacific coast, is subject to strong wind forcing which exhibits characteristic seasonality. In winter and early spring, it is distinguished by poleward and equatorward fluctuations on time scales of days and by weak monthly means. In summer, it is distinguished by periods of equatorward stress lasting several weeks and by relatively strong monthly means. The intensive winter and spring SMILE and STRESS and summer CODE-2 field programs permit the examination of cross-shelf circulation under both types of wind forcing conditions at a mid-shelf site approx. 90 m 6 km from the northern California coast. The primary thesis goal is to examine the applicability of a two-dimensional conceptual model of wind-forced cross-shelf circulation. In this conceptual model, surface and bottom cross-shelf flows are forced by along-shelf wind stress and bottom stress, and interior cross-shelf flow compensates such that the depth-averaged flow is zero. A secondary thesis goal is to use the seasonal coverage of available field programs to gain insight into seasonal variability of cross-shelf circulation on the northern California shelf. To accomplish these goals, the observed subtidal cross-shelf circulation is examined in the context of the winter and spring heat and salt balances, an analytic model of wind-forced cross-shelf circulation, and the spatial scales of subtidal velocity. MM

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  • Physical and Dynamic Oceanography

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