A large-scale modeling study of the California current system
Monroe, James T
Batteen, Mary L.
Collins, Curt A.
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A high resolution, multi-level, primitive equation ocean model is used to investigate the combined role of wind forcing, thermohaline gradients, and coastline irregularities on the formation of currents, meanders, eddies, and filaments in the California Current System (CCS) from 22.5 deg N to 47.5 deg N. An additional objective is to further characterize the formation of the Davidson Current, seasonal variability off Baja California, and the meandering jet south of Cape Blanco. The model includes a realistic coastline and is forced from rest using climatological winds, temperatures, and salinities. The migration pattern of the North Pacific Subtropical High plays a significant role in the generation and evolution of CCS structures. In particular, variations in wind stress induce flow instabilities which are enhanced by coastline perturbations. An inshore train of cyclonic eddies, combined with a poleward undercurrent of varying seasonal depths, forms a discontinuous countercurrent called the Davidson Current north of Point Conception. Off Baja, the equator-ward surface jet strengthens (weakens) during spring and summer (fall and winter). Model results also substantiate Point Eugenia as a persistent cyclonic eddy generation area. The model equator-ward jet south of Cape Blanco is a relatively continuous feature, meandering offshore and onshore, and divides coastally influenced water from water of offshore origin
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