Description and Mechanisms of the Mid-Year Upwelling in the Southern Caribbean Sea from Remote Sensing and Local Data
CARIACO Ocean Time-Series Program, Caribbean Sea, Coastal upwelling, Ekman pumping/suction, wind curl, Ekman transport, Remote sensing, SST
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
The southern Caribbean Sea experiences strong coastal upwelling between December and April due to the seasonal strengthening of the trade winds. A second upwelling was recently detected in the southeastern Caribbean during June-August, when local coastal wind intensities weaken. Using synoptic satellite measurements and in situ data, this mid-year upwelling was characterized in terms of surface and subsurface temperature structures, and its mechanisms were explored. The mid-year upwelling lasts 6-9 weeks with satellite sea surface temperature (SST) ~1-2° C warmer than the primary upwelling. Three possible upwelling mechanisms were analyzed: cross-shore Ekman transport (csET) due to alongshore winds, wind curl (Ekman pumping/suction) due to wind spatial gradients, and dynamic uplift caused by variations in the strength/position of the Caribbean Current. These parameters were derived from satellite wind and altimeter observations. The principal and the mid-year upwelling were driven primarily by csET (78-86%). However, SST had similar or better correlations with the Ekman pumping/suction integrated up to 100 km offshore (WE100) than with csET, possibly due to its influence on the isopycnal depth of the source waters for the coastal upwelling. The mid-year upwelling was not caused by dynamic uplift but it might have been enhanced by the seasonal intensification of the Caribbean Current during that period.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, v. 6, issue 2, art. 36
Scholar Commons Citation
Rueda-Roa, Digna T.; Ezer, Tal; and Muller-Karger, Frank E., "Description and Mechanisms of the Mid-Year Upwelling in the Southern Caribbean Sea from Remote Sensing and Local Data" (2018). Marine Science Faculty Publications. 1008.