Sea surface temperature fronts in the California Current System from geostationary satellite observations Public Deposited

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  • Sea surface temperature (SST) fronts are determined for the 2001–2004 time period from Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) data in the California Current System (CCS). The probability of detecting a SST front at an individual pixel location in the CCS is presented as a bi-monthly climatology. Fronts clearly indicate the seasonal evolution of coastal upwelling, as well as meanders and filaments that are often linked with irregularities in coastline geometry. Winter is characterized by low frontal activity along the entire coast. Fronts first appear close to the coast during spring, particularly south of Cape Blanco, where upwelling favorable winds are already persistent. The area of high frontal activity continues to increase during summer, especially between Monterey Bay and Cape Blanco, extending more than 300 km from the coast. The region with high frontal activity widens at ~2.6 km day¯¹. Off northern Baja California, a band with persistent fronts is found close to the coast year-round, but there is no evidence of a seasonal widening of the area of higher activity. During fall, the weakening of upwelling favorable winds leads to a gradual decrease in frontal activity. An empirical orthogonal function (EOF) decomposition reveals the development of SST fronts associated with seasonal upwelling for locations north of Monterey Bay, with less summer intensification to the south. The first appearance of fronts close to the coast during spring and the occurrence of the fronts offshore later in the season are represented by additional statistically significant EOF modes.
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  • Castelao, R. M., Mavor, T. P., Barth, J. A. and Breaker, L. C., 2006, Sea-surface temperature fronts in the California Current System from geostationary satellite observations: J. Geophys. Res., v. 111, C09026.
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