Controls of subsurface temperature variability in a western boundary upwelling system

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Abstract

[1] The mechanisms controlling subsurface temperature variability on the outer shelf in a western boundary upwelling system are quantified using observations from a mooring deployed off Cabo Frio, Brazil. Results from a multiple linear regression analysis reveal that, in addition to low-frequency variations associated with the seasonal evolution of temperature, the dominant mechanisms controlling temperature variability are wind stress curl–driven upwelling, cross-isobath transport, the proximity of the Brazil Current to the shelf break, and perhaps changes in the strength of tidal mixing associated with the spring-neap cycle. The influence of the proximity of the Brazil Current decreases strongly with depth, being restricted to the top 80 m. Regression coefficients indicate that the relative contributions from the different forcings are roughly similar and that no single process has a dominant role explaining temperature variability near the shelf break. These suggest that successful modeling efforts in the region must adequately represent each of those processes.

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