A mesoscale study of coastal currents and upwelling off Peru Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/sf268840q

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  • Moored instrument records, drogue displacements, and hydrographic observations are used in describing the coastal currents and upwelling off Peru. The data were obtained over the continental shelf near 15°S. during a two week study in late March and early April of 1969. First order statistics and graphical representations of current meter time series indicate that the longshore flow was poleward during most of the study period, interrupted by a three day 'event' of equatorward flow. The similarity of flow at all current meters indicates that the field of flow as quasi-barotropic. The depth, extent, and transport of poleward flow indicated by current meter time series and geostrophic sections were similar to those described in the literature for the Peru-Chile Undercurrent. The observations suggest that this flow moved further offshore as equatorward flow appeared over the shelf. Power spectral analyses performed on current meter records indicate the existence of semidiurnal tidal currents in the longshore direction. The magnitude of these currents is estimated at 10% to 15% of period mean speeds. Ten meter drogue displacements are compared with 25 m recorded currents and with winds. The observations indicate that: the drogues were affected by both the 25 m flow and the wind; the depth of the wind drift layer was between 10 m and 25 m; the drogue displacements were in the sense expected from the Ekman model. Vertical sections of sigma-t, oxygen, and nitrate indicate the existence of conditions consistent with upwelling. Surface maps of temperature, nitrate, and chlorophyll 'a' over the shelf are used to define the horizontal field of upwelling and its variations in time. The distributions suggest that upwelling existed throughout the period and underwent temporal and spatial modulations in intensity. The possibility of a causal mechanism between observed current and upwelling variations is examined. Vertical salinity sections indicated the presence of a weak salinity minimum between the surface and 100 m. It is suggested that this minimum manifests the remnants of a tongue of Subantarctic Water embedded in a much larger mass of Equatorial Subsurface Water. The occurrence of the minimum only in conjunction with poleward flow suggests that the water was advected or mixed coastward somewhere north of the area studied, was entrained in the Peru-Chile Undercurrent, and was carried south again.
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