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Title: The Upwelling Source Depth Distribution and Its Response to Wind Stress and Stratification

Coastal upwelling, driven by alongshore winds and characterized by cold sea surface temperatures and high upper-ocean nutrient content, is an important physical process sustaining some of the oceans’ most productive ecosystems. To fully understand the ocean properties in eastern boundary upwelling systems, it is important to consider the depth of the source waters being upwelled, as it affects both the SST and the transport of nutrients toward the surface. Here, we construct an upwelling source depth distribution for parcels at the surface in the upwelling zone. We do so using passive tracers forced at the domain boundary for every model depth level to quantify their contributions to the upwelled waters. We test the dependence of this distribution on the strength of the wind stress and stratification using high-resolution regional ocean simulations of an idealized coastal upwelling system. We also present an efficient method for estimating the mean upwelling source depth. Furthermore, we show that the standard deviation of the upwelling source depth distribution increases with increasing wind stress and decreases with increasing stratification. These results can be applied to better understand and predict how coastal upwelling sites and their surface properties have and will change in past and future climates.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
American Meteorological Society
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Physical Oceanography
Medium: X Size: p. 1003-1018
["p. 1003-1018"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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