Publications

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2003
Winant, CD, Dever EP, Hendershott MC.  2003.  Characteristic patterns of shelf circulation at the boundary between central and southern California. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 108   10.1029/2001jc001302   AbstractWebsite

[1] The coastal circulation in the Santa Barbara Channel (SBC) and the southern central California shelf is described in terms of three characteristic flow patterns. The upwelling pattern consists of a prevailing equatorward flow at the surface and at 45 m depth, except in the area immediately adjacent to the mainland coast in the SBC where the prevailing cyclonic circulation is strong enough to reverse the equatorward tendency and the flow is toward the west. In the surface convergent pattern, north of Point Conception, the surface flow is equatorward while the flow at 45 m depth is poleward. East of Point Conception, along the mainland coast, the flow is westward at all depths and there results a convergence at the surface between Point Conception and Point Arguello, with offshore transport over a distance on the order of 100 km. Beneath the surface layer the direction of the flow is consistently poleward. The relaxation pattern is almost the reverse of the upwelling pattern, with the exception that in the SBC the cyclonic circulation is such that the flow north of the Channel Islands remains eastward, although weak. The upwelling pattern is more likely to occur in March and April, after the spring transition, when the winds first become upwelling favorable and while the surface pressure is uniform. The surface convergent pattern tends to occur in summer, when the wind is still strong and persistently upwelling favorable, and the alongshore variable upwelling has build up alongshore surface pressure gradients. The relaxation pattern occurs in late fall and early winter, after the end of the period of persistent upwelling favorable winds.

1999
Winant, CD, Alden DJ, Dever EP, Edwards KA, Hendershott MC.  1999.  Near-surface trajectories off central and southern California. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 104:15713-15726.   10.1029/1999jc900083   AbstractWebsite

The near-surface circulation in the Santa Barbara Channel and off the coast of central and southern California is described based on 20 releases of drifters drogued 1 m beneath the surface from 12 sites within the channel at bimonthly intervals. This description includes small-scale features of the circulation which are not part of descriptions based on moored observations or of the statistics of the drifter releases. The eventual fate of drifters at long time intervals compared to the residence time in the channel (about 7 days) is also included. In the channel the trajectories document a persistent cyclonic circulation with a typical recirculation period between 3 and 5 days. In the spring, currents near the mainland are weaker than near the Channel Islands, and the overall flow is toward the southeast. Trajectories document the possibility for water parcels to leave the channel through the interisland passes. In the late fall and winter a poleward flow with velocities often exceeding 0.5 m s(-1) is confined within 20 km of the mainland. Between these two seasons the cyclonic tendency is enhanced, although most of the drifters eventually migrate westward. The trajectories of drifters released at the same time from sites only 20 km apart can be remarkably different. Once the drifters migrate out of the channel, their trajectories can be grouped into a few patterns. In spring and summer, drifters tend to remain in the Southern California Eight. Their trajectories often remain close over extended periods, as if they were caught in convergence zones. In fall the drifters often are caught in a poleward current.