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Oey, LY, Wang DP, Hayward T, Winant C, Hendershott M.  2001.  "Upwelling" and "cyclonic" regimes of the near-surface circulation in the Santa Barbara Channel. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 106:9213-9222.   10.1029/1999jc000129   AbstractWebsite

The observed near-surface circulation in the Santa Barbara Channel indicates in particular two patterns: a dominant cyclonic circulation mode and a less frequent upwelling flow mode. To explain the dynamics that may govern these two flow regimes, momentum balance from a hindcast model of currents in the channel, forced by observed hourly winds and hydrographic data, was calculated. The along-channel balance was found to be between wind, which was eastward (i.e., equatorward), sea level tilt, which was westward (i.e., poleward), and Coriolis, which was westward if the wind was (1) intense west and east of the channel and was eastward if the wind was (2) weaker in the east. Wind condition 1 produced southward cross-channel flow in the midchannel, connected by eastward currents upstream (downstream) along the northern (southern) coast of the channel, while wind condition 2 produced northward cross-channel flow connected by cyclonic recirculation in the west and westward inflow in the east. It is suggested that the former corresponds to the dynamical balance that may occur in the upwelling flow mode, while the latter corresponds to the cyclonic circulation mode.

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.