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Dong C., J. C. McWilliams, A. Hall and M. Hughes (May 2011): Numerical simulation of a synoptic event in the Southern California Bight. J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 116, C05018. doi:10.1029/2010JC006578

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In the middle of March 2002 a synoptic upwelling event occurred in the Southern California Bight; it was marked by a precipitous cooling of at least 4°C within 10–20 km of the coast. By the end of the month the preevent temperatures had slowly recovered. The Regional Oceanic Model System (ROMS) is used to simulate the event with an atmospheric downscaling reanalysis for surface wind and buoyancy flux forcing. Lateral boundary conditions of temperature, salinity, velocity, and sea level are taken from a global oceanic product. Barotropic tidal fields from a global barotropic model are imposed along the open boundaries. The simulation reproduces well the upwelling process compared with observed data. The sensitivity of the simulation is examined to wind resolution, heat flux, and tidal forcing. The oceanic response to the different wind resolutions converges at the level of the 6 km resolution, which is the finest scale present in the terrain elevation data set used in the atmospheric downscaling. The combination of an analytical diurnal cycle in the solar radiation and the empirical coupling with the instantaneous ROMS sea surface temperature produces a similar oceanic response to the downscaled heat flux. Tidal effects are significant in the upwelling evolution due to the increase in wind energy input through a quasi-resonant alignment of the wind and surface current, probably by chance.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: PSD Publications
Divisions: Physical Sciences Division
DOI: 10.1029/2010JC006578