Statistical aspects of surface drifter observations of circulation in the Santa Barbara Channel

Citation:
Dever, EP, Hendershott MC, Winant CD.  1998.  Statistical aspects of surface drifter observations of circulation in the Santa Barbara Channel. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 103:24781-24797.

Date Published:

Oct

Keywords:

california, code, currents, ocean, point conception, region, shear, spring 1983, variability, wind

Abstract:

Argos-tracked drifters are used to study the near-surface circulation in the Santa Barbara Channel. The mean consists of a cyclonic cell in the western Santa Barbara Channel with weaker flow in the eastern Channel. Drifter mean velocities agree well with record means from near-surface current meters. At the eastern entrance to the channel, drifter velocities are biased toward outflow (eastward velocity) conditions. Drifter variability at synoptic and seasonal scales shows a tendency for upwelling and eastward flow in spring, a strong cyclonic circulation in summer, poleward relaxation in fall, and weak, variable circulation in winter. Drifter estimates of eddy stress divergence indicate advective terms play a secondary role in the mean surface momentum balance. Lagrangian time and space scales are about 1 day and under 10 km, respectively. The mismatch between Lagrangian and Eulerian timescales indicates advective terms are important to the fluctuating circulation.

Notes:

n/a

Website

DOI:

10.1029/98jc02403