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Kim, SY, Cornuelle BD, Terrill EJ.  2010.  Decomposing observations of high-frequency radar-derived surface currents by their forcing mechanisms: Locally wind-driven surface currents. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 115   10.1029/2010jc006223   AbstractWebsite

The wind impulse response function and transfer function for high-frequency radar-derived surface currents off southern San Diego are calculated using several local wind observations. The spatial map of the transfer function reflects the influence of the coast on wind-current dynamics. Near the coast (within 20 km from the shoreline), the amplitudes of the transfer function at inertial and diurnal frequencies are reduced due to effects of coastline and bottom bathymetry. Meanwhile, the amplitude of low-frequency currents increases near the coast, which is attributed to the local geostrophic balance between cross-shore pressure gradients against the coast and currents. Locally wind-driven surface currents are estimated from the data-derived response function, and their power spectrum shows a strong diurnal peak superposed on a red spectrum, similar to the spectra of observed winds. Current magnitudes and veering angles to a quasi-steady wind are typically 2-5% of the wind speed and vary 50 degrees-90 degrees to the right of the wind, respectively. A wind skill map is introduced to present the fractional variance of surface currents explained by local winds as a verification tool for wind data quality and relevance. Moreover, the transfer functions in summer and winter are presented to examine the seasonal variation in ocean surface current response to the wind associated with stratification change.

Kim, SY, Cornuelle BD, Terrill EJ.  2009.  Anisotropic Response of Surface Currents to the Wind in a Coastal Region. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 39:1512-1533.   10.1175/2009JPO4013.1   Abstract

Analysis of coastal surface currents measured off the coast of San Diego for two years suggests an anisotropic and asymmetric response to the wind, probably as a result of bottom/coastline boundary effects, including pressure gradients. In a linear regression, the statistically estimated anisotropic response explains approximately 20% more surface current variance than an isotropic wind-ocean response model. After steady wind forcing for three days, the isotropic surface current response veers 42 degrees +/- 2 degrees to the right of the wind regardless of wind direction, whereas the anisotropic analysis suggests that the upcoast (onshore) wind stress generates surface currents with 10 degrees +/- 4 degrees (71 degrees +/- 3 degrees) to the right of the wind direction. The anisotropic response thus reflects the dominance of alongshore currents in this coastal region. Both analyses yield wind-driven currents with 3%-5% of the wind speed, as expected. In addition, nonlinear isotropic and anisotropic response functions are considered, and the asymmetric current responses to the wind are examined. These results provide a comprehensive statistical model of the wind-driven currents in the coastal region, which has not been well identified in previous field studies, but is qualitatively consistent with descriptions of the current response in coastal ocean models.

Worcester, P, Dushaw BD, Andrew RK, Howe BM, Mercer JA, Spindel RC, Cornuelle B, Dzieciuch M, Birdsall TG, Metzger K, Menemenlis D.  2008.  A decade of acoustic thermometry in the North Pacific Ocean: Using long-range acoustic travel times to test gyre-scale temperature variability derived from other observations and ocean models. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 123 AbstractWebsite

Large-scale, range- and depth-averaged temperatures in the North Pacific Ocean were measured by long-range acoustic transmissions over the decade 1996-2006. Acoustic sources off central California and north of Kauai transmitted to receivers throughout the North Pacific. Even though acoustic travel times are spatially integrating, suppressing mesoscale variability and providing a precise measure of large-scale temperature, the travel times sometimes vary significantly on time scales of only a few weeks. The interannual variability is large, with no consistent warming or cooling trends. Comparison of the measured travel times with travel times derived from (i) the World Ocean Atlas 2005 (WOA05), (ii) an upper ocean temperature estimate derived from satellite altimetry and in situ profiles, (iii) an analysis provided by the Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean (ECCO) project, and (iv) simulation results from a high-resolution configuration of the Parallel Ocean Program (POP) show similarities, but also reveal substantial differences. The differences suggest that the data can provide significant additional constraints for numerical ocean simulations. The acoustic data show that WOA05 is a much better estimate of the time-mean hydrography than either the ECCO or POP estimates and provide significantly better time resolution for large-scale ocean variability than can be derived from satellite altimetry and in situ profiles.

Morawitz, WML, Sutton PJ, Worcester PF, Cornuelle BD, Lynch JF, Pawlowicz R.  1996.  Three-dimensional observations of a deep convective chimney in the Greenland sea during Winter 1988/89. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 26:2316-2343.   10.1175/1520-0485(1996)026<2316:tdooad>;2   AbstractWebsite

All available temperature data, including moored thermistor. hydrographic, and tomographic measurements, have been combined using least-squares inverse methods to study the evolution of the three-dimensional temperature field in the Greenland Sea during winter 1988/89. The data are adequate to resolve features with spatial scares of about 40 km and larger. A chimney structure reaching depths in excess of 1000 m is observed to the southwest of the gyre center during March 1989. The chimney has a spatial scale of about 50 km, near the limit of the spatial resolution of the data, and a timescale of about 10 days, The chimney structure breaks up and disappears in only 3-6 days. A one-dimensional vertical heat balance adequately describes changes in total heat content in the chimney region from autumn 1988 until the time of chimney breakup, when horizontal advection becomes important. A simple one-dimensional mixed layer model is surprisingly successful in reproducing autumn to winter bulk temperature and salinity changes, as well as the observed evolution of the mixed layer to depths in excess of 1000 m. Uncertainties in surface freshwater fluxes make it difficult to determine whether net evaporation minus precipitation, or ice advection, is responsible for the observed depth-averaged salinity increase from autumn to winter in the chimney region. Rough estimates of the potential energy balance In the mixed laver suggest that potential energy changes are reasonably consistent with turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) production terms. Initially the TKE term parameterizing wind forcing and shear production is important, but as the mixed layer deepens the surface buoyancy production term dominates. The estimated average annual deep-water production rate in the Greenland Sea for 1988/89 is about 0.1 Sverdrups, comparable to production rates during the 1980s and early 1990s derived from tracer measurements. The location of the deep convection observed appears to be sensitively linked to the amount of Arctic Intermediate Water (AIW) present from autumn through spring. Although AIW is an important source of salt for the surface waters, too much AIW overstratifies the water column, preventing deep convection from occurring.