Mesoscale Hydrographic Variability in the Vicinity of Points Conception and Arguello during April-May 1983' the OPUS 1983 Experiment

Larry P. Atkinson, Kenneth H. Brink, Russ E. Davis, Burton H. Jones, Theresap Aluszkiewicz, David W. Stuart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


In April and May 1983, interdisciplinary oceanographic observations were made of upwelling events in the Point Conception area off southern California. The principal objective was to observe the structure and time dependence of the upwelling system. To accomplish this, two ships, two aircraft, moorings, drogues, and satellite imagery were all included in the observational effort. During the intensive measurement period three main upwelling events and two intervening relaxation or downwelling intervals were sampled during what was a period of overall longer-term sea surface warming. Surface temperatures during upwelling were as low as 10.5°C in the upwelling center between Point Arguello and Point Conception, while during periods of nonupwelling winds, temperatures reached 14°-15°C in the same area. The upwelling center was also a source of higher-salinity water (33.7‰) relative to the offshore waters that were anomalously fresh (33.3‰). Upwelling was observed off Point Arguello, Point Conception, and the area between with a possible lag of up to a day at Point Conception relative to the other areas. The upwelling plume as observed by surface mapping and remote sensing tended to move in a variety of directions from SE to SW. Part of the movement was usually into the Santa Barbara Channel, but other parts of the plume occasionally moved southwestward. There was no obvious correlation of plume direction with the wind. During relaxation events the entire region was covered by a 10- to 20-m-thick warm (14°-16°C), fresh (<33.5‰) buoyant layer. Spatial correlations of water temperature with 24-hour lagged winds showed logical patterns, but the distributions were not as seen in other California studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12899-12918
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue numberC11
StatePublished - Nov 15 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Mesoscale Hydrographic Variability in the Vicinity of Points Conception and Arguello during April-May 1983' the OPUS 1983 Experiment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this