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J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2018, 6(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse6020036

Description and Mechanisms of the Mid-Year Upwelling in the Southern Caribbean Sea from Remote Sensing and Local Data

1
Institute for Marine Remote Sensing, University of South Florida, College of Marine Science, 140 7th Ave. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33701, USA
2
Old Dominion University, Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, 4111 Monarch Way, Norfolk, VA 23508, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 February 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 5 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Satellite Remote Sensing in Marine Science)
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Abstract

The southern Caribbean Sea experiences strong coastal upwelling between December and April due to the seasonal strengthening of the trade winds. A second upwelling was recently detected in the southeastern Caribbean during June–August, when local coastal wind intensities weaken. Using synoptic satellite measurements and in situ data, this mid-year upwelling was characterized in terms of surface and subsurface temperature structures, and its mechanisms were explored. The mid-year upwelling lasts 6–9 weeks with satellite sea surface temperature (SST) ~1–2° C warmer than the primary upwelling. Three possible upwelling mechanisms were analyzed: cross-shore Ekman transport (csET) due to alongshore winds, wind curl (Ekman pumping/suction) due to wind spatial gradients, and dynamic uplift caused by variations in the strength/position of the Caribbean Current. These parameters were derived from satellite wind and altimeter observations. The principal and the mid-year upwelling were driven primarily by csET (78–86%). However, SST had similar or better correlations with the Ekman pumping/suction integrated up to 100 km offshore (WE100) than with csET, possibly due to its influence on the isopycnal depth of the source waters for the coastal upwelling. The mid-year upwelling was not caused by dynamic uplift but it might have been enhanced by the seasonal intensification of the Caribbean Current during that period. View Full-Text
Keywords: coastal upwelling; SST; Caribbean Sea; Ekman transport; Ekman pumping/suction; wind curl; remote sensing; CARIACO Ocean Time-Series Program coastal upwelling; SST; Caribbean Sea; Ekman transport; Ekman pumping/suction; wind curl; remote sensing; CARIACO Ocean Time-Series Program
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Rueda-Roa, D.T.; Ezer, T.; Muller-Karger, F.E. Description and Mechanisms of the Mid-Year Upwelling in the Southern Caribbean Sea from Remote Sensing and Local Data. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2018, 6, 36.

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