A Lagrangian study tracing water parcel origins in the Canary Upwelling System

  • Mason E
  • Colas F
  • Pelegrí J
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Abstract

The regional ocean circulation within the Canary Upwelling System between 31°N and 35°N is studied using numerical tools. Seasonal mean and near-instantaneous velocity fields from a previously-generated climatological Regional Ocean Modelling System (ROMS) solution of the Canary Basin are used to force a series of offline Lagrangian particle-tracking experiments. The primary objective is to identify the pathways through which water parcels arrive at the upwelling region north of Cape Ghir. Examining year-long pathways, the Azores Current contributes over 80% of particles annually, of which a large proportion arrive directly from offshore (from the northwest), while others travel along the shelf and slope from the Gulf of Cadiz. The remaining ~20% originate within the Gulf of Cadiz or come from the south, although the southern contribution is only significant in autumn and winter. When season-long pathways are considered, the alongshore contributions become increasingly important: northern contributions reach 40% in spring and summer, while southern values exceed 35% in winter. This study also shows that coastal upwelling changes both spatially and temporally. Upwelling becomes intensified near Cape Beddouza, with most upwelling occurring within ~40 km from shore although significant values may reach as far as 120 km offshore north of Cape Beddouza; at these locations the offshore integrated upwelling reaches as much as 4 times the offshore Ekman transport. In the Cape Beddouza area (32°N to 33°N), upwelling is negligible in February but intensifies in autumn, reaching as much as 3 times the offshore Ekman transport.

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APA

Mason, E., Colas, F., & Pelegrí, J. L. (2012). A Lagrangian study tracing water parcel origins in the Canary Upwelling System. Scientia Marina, 76(S1), 79–94. https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.03608.18d

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