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Laboratory modeling of coastal upwelling

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Abstract

With the advent of routine satellite investigations of the coastal regions where wind-induced upwelling occurs (L.C. Breaker and C.N.K. Mooers (manuscript in preparation); Flament et al. [1985]) has come an increased appreciation for the complexity of the flows that can be produced. These are revealed especially in the surface temperature and chlorophyll fields, which often show a complex filamentary structure that is clearly related to the transport of surface water by interacting mesoscale eddies and large-amplitude waves. In many cases these features are observed to propagate along shore in the direction of the applied wind stress, but often they are found to be quasi-stationary. It has been speculated that this latter effect is due to the influence of bottom topography or coastline features to which these large-scale flow features can become locked and then produce outward meandering jets. Often the features tend to drift offshore and in the direction of the applied stress, allowing new features to develop in their place (see, for example, Mooers and Robinson [1984] or Narimousa and Maxworthy [1985]). In this article we describe a series of laboratory experiments designed to study some of the questions raised by this line of reasoning and to compare experimentally determined values of certain of the observed features to values obtained from satellite and field observations.

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