On the spatial structure of coastal circulation off Newport, Oregon, during spring and summer 2001 in a region of varying shelf width Public Deposited

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  • A time series of hourly surface current maps in the shelf waters off Newport, Oregon, was made during April–September 2001 using five SeaSonde HF current mappers, during Coastal Advances in Shelf Transport (COAST). The surface currents responded rapidly to the changing winds, in repeated patterns that were strongly affected by bottom topography. An equatorward current jet repeatedly formed in response to upwelling winds, its strength, but not its trajectory, covarying with the meridional wind stress. Near Cape Foulweather (44.8°N), where the shelf begins to widen, the jet rotates, weakens, and trends offshore to the south first along, then across, the isobaths. Below Cape Foulweather, inshore of the jet, a lee region of generally weak currents was commonly observed. The equatorward jet core was most commonly observed near the 80-m isobath between 45.0°N and 44.4°N, but transited offshore between spring and summer over Heceta Bank. At Newport (44.6°N), it was rarely observed less than 8 km from the coast. A second, inshore, equatorward jet, previously unknown, was observed repeatedly south of Waldport (44.4°N). Sustained downwelling wind episodes produced poleward currents, though less responsively north of Cape Foulweather. Strongest poleward flow was generally trapped near the coast. Surface currents were correlated with the northward wind, except regionally far from shore over Heceta Bank, responding within half a day. Response to the wind varies spatially, being intensified in the narrow shelf (northern) region. The equatorward jet persists through periods of zero wind forcing. Coastal sea level covaries with the meridional wind and the primary mode of ocean current response.
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  • Kosro, P. M. (2005). On the spatial structure of coastal circulation off Newport, Oregon, during spring and summer 2001 in a region of varying shelf width. Journal of Geophysical Research, 110. doi:10.1029/2004JC002769
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