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Verdy, A, Mazloff MR, Cornuelle BD, Kim SY.  2014.  Wind-driven sea level variability on the California coast: An adjoint sensitivity analysis. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 44:297-318.   10.1175/jpo-d-13-018.1   AbstractWebsite

Effects of atmospheric forcing on coastal sea surface height near Port San Luis, central California, are investigated using a regional state estimate and its adjoint. The physical pathways for the propagation of nonlocal [O(100 km)] wind stress effects are identified through adjoint sensitivity analyses, with a cost function that is localized in space so that the adjoint shows details of the propagation of sensitivities. Transfer functions between wind stress and SSH response are calculated and compared to previous work. It is found that (i) the response to local alongshore wind stress dominates on short time scales of O(1 day); (ii) the effect of nonlocal winds dominates on longer time scales and is carried by coastally trapped waves, as well as inertia-gravity waves for offshore wind stress; and (iii) there are significant seasonal variations in the sensitivity of SSH to wind stress due to changes in stratification. In a more stratified ocean, the damping of sensitivities to local and offshore winds is reduced, allowing for a larger and longer-lasting SSH response to wind stress.

Todd, RE, Rudnick DL, Mazloff MR, Cornuelle BD, Davis RE.  2012.  Thermohaline structure in the California Current System: Observations and modeling of spice variance. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 117   10.1029/2011jc007589   AbstractWebsite

Upper ocean thermohaline structure in the California Current System is investigated using sustained observations from autonomous underwater gliders and a numerical state estimate. Both observations and the state estimate show layers distinguished by the temperature and salinity variability along isopycnals (i.e., spice variance). Mesoscale and submesoscale spice variance is largest in the remnant mixed layer, decreases to a minimum below the pycnocline near 26.3 kg m(-3), and then increases again near 26.6 kg m(-3). Layers of high (low) meso-and submesoscale spice variance are found on isopycnals where large-scale spice gradients are large (small), consistent with stirring of large-scale gradients to produce smaller scale thermohaline structure. Passive tracer adjoint calculations in the state estimate are used to investigate possible mechanisms for the formation of the layers of spice variance. Layers of high spice variance are found to have distinct origins and to be associated with named water masses; high spice variance water in the remnant mixed layer has northerly origin and is identified as Pacific Subarctic water, while the water in the deeper high spice variance layer has southerly origin and is identified as Equatorial Pacific water. The layer of low spice variance near 26.3 kg m(-3) lies between the named water masses and does not have a clear origin. Both effective horizontal diffusivity, kappa(h), and effective diapycnal diffusivity, kappa(v), are elevated relative to the diffusion coefficients set in the numerical simulation, but changes in kappa(h) and kappa(v) with depth are not sufficient to explain the observed layering of thermohaline structure.