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Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans








Observations and numerical simulations of upwelling along the Galician coast of Spain during April 1982 are presented. In situ measurements include shipboard determinations of hydrographic and biological parameters from a grid of stations covering the continental shelf from Cape Finisterre to Ria de Vigo, sea level data from Vigo and La Coruña, and wind stress estimates derived from the ship winds and from surface pressure charts. Sea surface temperature information and pigment concentration information have been obtained from a sequence of satellite images from the NOAA 7 advanced very high resolution radiometer and the Nimbus 7 coastal zone color scanner, respectively. Since the Cape Finisterre sector of the Iberian peninsula is characterized by an abrupt change in coastline orientation, wind‐driven upwelling can occur in that region over a 270° range of wind direction. These data document the evolution of upwelling and the resultant coastal circulation in response to two wind events that occurred over a 10‐day period. Salient features of the circulation include a southward coastal jet and a northward flow further offshore along the western coast. Numerical simulations of the coastal currents, the vertical excursion of a density interface from a static equilibrium position, and coastal sea level are conducted using a wind patch characterized by constant direction and negative curl. The simulations show that during these wind events, the greatest upwelling will occur either at Cape Finisterre or along the northern coast as was observed in this case and as has been reported by others. It is suggested on the basis of the analysis of the sea level records and on the numerical simulations that wave disturbances propagate northward along the coast at a speed of 120–160 km/day. Finally, it is speculated that much of the organic material formed during upwelling events north of the Cape Finisterre is advected out to sea northwest of the cape.


© 1986 by the American Geophysical Union

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Original Publication Citation

McClain, C. R., Chao, S. Y., Atkinson, L. P., Blanton, J. O., & Decastillejo, F. (1986). Wind-driven upwelling in the vicinity of Cape Finisterre, Spain. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 91(C7), 8470-8486. doi:10.1029/JC091iC07p08470


0000-0003-2919-100X (Atkinson)

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