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Coastal Upwelling

  • Ekman transport pushes water away from coast, sea surface slopes towards cost
  • Water from typically 50-200 m depth replaces surface water; cold, nutrient-rich!
  • Upwelling areas rich in plankton & fisheries

  • Seasonal changes in upwelling and down- welling occur as prevailing wind directions change with seasons. Examples: west coast of the U.S. San Francisco summer fog); coast of Peru & NW Africa

Langmuir Circulation

  • First observed 1938 by Irving Langmuir: straight rows of seaweed parallel to the wind direction
  • Light to moderate winds create horizontal convection cells
  • All floating seaweed, plankton are concentrated near surface in convergence zones
  • Convergence zones can be seen by accumulation of drifting material or turbidity 
  • Detailed physical explanation and description still pending