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Long-term, high-frequency current and temperature measurements along central California: Insights into upwelling/relaxation and internal waves on the inner shelf

January 1, 2003

Thermistor chains and acoustic Doppler current profilers were deployed at the northern and southern ends of Monterey Bay to examine the thermal and hydrodynamic structure of the inner (h ??? 20 m) shelf of central California. These instruments sampled temperature and current velocity at 2-min intervals over a 13-month period from June 2000 to July 2001. Time series of these data, in conjunction with SST imagery and CODAR sea surface current maps, helped to establish the basic hydrography for Monterey Bay. Analysis of time series data revealed that depth integrated flow at both sites was shore parallel (northwest-southeast) with net flows out of the Bay (northwest). The current and temperature records were dominated by semi-diurnal and diurnal tidal signals that lagged the surface tides by 3 h on average. Over the course of an internal tidal cycle these flows were asymmetric, with the flow during the flooding internal tide to the southeast typically lasting only one-third as long as the flow to the northwest during the ebbing internal tide. The transitions from ebb to flood were rapid and bore-like in nature; they were also marked by rapid increases in temperature and high shear. During the spring and summer, when thermal stratification was high, we observed almost 2000 high-frequency (Tp ??? 4-20 min) internal waves in packets of 8-10 following the heads of these bore-like features. Previous studies along the West Coast of the US have concluded that warm water bores and high-frequency internal waves may play a significant role in the onshore transport of larvae.