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Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans

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Abstract/ Summary

Six years of daily satellite data are used to quantify and map intraseasonal variability of chlorophyll and sea surface temperature (SST) in the California Current. We define intraseasonal variability as temporal variation remaining after removal of interannual variability and stationary seasonal cycles. Semivariograms are used to quantify the temporal structure of residual time series. Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analyses of semivariograms calculated across the region isolate dominant scales and corresponding spatial patterns of intraseasonal variability. The mode 1 EOFs for both chlorophyll and SST semivariograms indicate a dominant timescale of similar to 60 days. Spatial amplitudes and patterns of intraseasonal variance derived from mode 1 suggest dominant forcing of intraseasonal variability through distortion of large scale chlorophyll and SST gradients by mesoscale circulation. Intraseasonal SST variance is greatest off southern Baja and along southern Oregon and northern California. Chlorophyll variance is greatest over the shelf and slope, with elevated values closely confined to the Baja shelf and extending farthest from shore off California and the Pacific Northwest. Intraseasonal contributions to total SST variability are strongest near upwelling centers off southern Oregon and northern California, where seasonal contributions are weak. Intraseasonal variability accounts for the majority of total chlorophyll variance in most inshore areas save for southern Baja, where seasonal cycles dominate. Contributions of higher EOF modes to semivariogram structure indicate the degree to which intraseasonal variability is shifted to shorter timescales in certain areas. Comparisons of satellite-derived SST semivariograms to those calculated from co-located and concurrent buoy SST time series show similar features.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Legaard KR, Thomas AC. Spatial Patterns of Intraseasonal Variability of Chlorophyll and Sea Surface Temperature in the California Current. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 2007;112: C09006. To view the published open abstract, go to and enter the DOI.

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Copyright 2007 American Geophysical Union.




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