Remote Sensing of Coastal Upwelling in the North-Eastern Atlantic Ocean

  • I. Ambar
  • J. Dias

The Sea Surface Temperature (SST) distribution of the subtropical North Atlantic shows low SSTs off Iberia and NW Africa due not only to cold water advection by the southward branch of the subtropical gyre but also to the upwelled cold subsurface waters associated to the wind-induced coastal divergence. The upwelling off the western coast of Iberia has a seasonal character associated with the northerly winds during summer whereas, further south (20–25°N), the upwelling off NW Africa is a permanent phenomenon driven by the trade winds. Since low SST and high productivity of the upper ocean characterize upwelling, remote sensing is a widely used tool for its study. The present paper reviews the main aspects, based in satellite observations, related to the physical and biological characteristics of the upwelling off Iberia and to their seasonal and interannual changes.


Ocean Colour Coastal Upwelling Ekman Transport Horse Mackerel Strong Upwelling 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Borges MF, Santos AMP, Crato N, Mendes H, Mota B (2003) Sardine regime shifts off Portugal: a time series analysis of catches and wind conditions. Scientia Marina, 67(Suppl. 1):235-244Google Scholar
  2. Fiúza AFG (1982) The Portuguese coastal upwelling system. In: Actual problems of Oceanography in Portugal. Junta Nacional de Investigação Científica e Tecnológica, Lisbon, Portugal, pp 45-71Google Scholar
  3. Fiúza AFG (1983) Upwelling patterns off Portugal. In: Suess E, Thiede J (eds) Coastal Upwelling: its sediment record. Plenum Press, pp 85-98Google Scholar
  4. Fiúza AFG (1984) Hidrologia e dinâmica das águas costeiras de Portugal (Hydrology and dynamics of the Portuguese coastal waters). PhD thesis, University of Lisbon, PortugalGoogle Scholar
  5. Fiúza AFG (1990) Applications of satellite remote sensing to fisheries. In: Rodrigues AG (ed) Operations research and management in fishing. Kluwer, pp 257-279Google Scholar
  6. Fiúza AFG, Macedo ME, Guerreiro R (1982) Climatological space and time variations of the Portuguese coastal upwelling. Oceanol. Acta 5:31-40Google Scholar
  7. Haynes R, Barton ED, Pilling I (1993) Development, persistence, and variability of upwelling filaments off the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula. J Geophys Res 98(C12):22681-22692CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. King GP, Yang J, Dias J, Serra N (2006) EOF analysis of seasonal and interannual variability of the surface circulation along the west Iberian coast from 1995-2005. Geophys Res Abs 8:1607-7962/gra/EGU06-A-03127Google Scholar
  9. Navarro G, Ruiz J (2006) Spatial and temporal variability of phytoplankton in the Gulf of Cádiz through remote sensing images. Deep-Sea Res II 53:1241-1260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Nykjaer L, Van Camp L (1994) Seasonal and interannual variability of coastal upwelling along northwest Africa and Portugal from 1981 to 1991. J Geophys Res 99(C7):14197-14207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Peliz A, Fiúza AFG (1999) Temporal and spatial variability of CZCS-derived phytoplankton pigment concentrations off the western Iberian Peninsula. Int J Remote Sens 20(7):1363-1403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Relvas P, Barton ED (2002) Mesoscale patterns in the Cape São Vicente (Iberian Peninsula) upwelling region. J Geophys Res 107(C10), 3164, doi:10.1029/2000JC000456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Relvas P, Barton ED (2005) A separated jet and coastal counterflow during up-welling relaxation off Cape São Vicente (Iberian Peninsula). Cont Shelf Res 25:29-49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ribeiro AC, Peliz A, Santos AMP (2005) A study of the response of chlorophyll-a biomass to a winter upwelling event off western Iberia using SeaWiFS and in situ data. J Marine Syst 53:87-107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Robinson IS (2004) Measuring the oceans from space. The principles and methods of satellite oceanography. Springer-Praxis, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  16. Røed LP, Shi XB (1999) A numerical study of the dynamics and energetics of cool filaments, jets, and eddies off the Iberian Peninsula. J Geophys Res 104 (C12):29817-29841CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ruiz J, Navarro G (2006) Upwelling spots and vertical velocities in the Gulf of Cádiz: an approach for their diagnose by combining temperature and ocean colour remote sensing. Deep-Sea Res II 53:1282-1293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Santos AMP, Fiúza AFG (1992) Supporting the Portuguese fisheries with satellites. In: Proceedings of the European International Space Year Conference, Munich, Germany, ISY-1, vol 2 (Paris: ESA), pp 663-668Google Scholar
  19. Santos AMP, Borges MF, Groom S (2001) Sardine and horse mackerel recruitment and upwelling off Portugal. ICES J Marine Sci 58:589-596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Santos AMP, Peliz A, Dubert J, Oliveira PB, Angélico MM, Ré P (2004) Impact of a winter upwelling event on the distribution and transport of sardine (Sardina pilchardus) eggs and larvae off western Iberia: a retention mechanism. Cont Shelf Res 24:149-165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Santos AMP, Fiúza AFG, Laurs RM (2006) Influence of SST on catches of swordfish and tuna in the Portuguese domestic longline fishery. Int J Remote Sens 27(15):3131-3152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sousa F, Bricaud A (1992) Satellite-derived phytoplankton pigment structures in the Portuguese upwelling area. J Geophys Res 97(C7):11343-11356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Stevens I, Hamann M, Johnson JA, Fiúza AFG (2000) Comparisons between a fine resolution model and observations in the Iberian shelf-slope region. J Marine Syst, 26:53-74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Torres R, Barton ED, Miller P, Fanjul E (2003) Spatial patterns of wind and sea surface temperature in the Galician upwelling region. J Geophys Res 108(C4), 3130, doi:10.1029/2002JC001361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Vargas JM, García-Lafuente J, Delgado J, Criado F (2003) Seasonal and wind-induced variability of sea surface temperature patterns in the Gulf of Cádiz. J Marine Syst 38:205-219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wooster WS, Bakun A, McLain DR (1976) The seasonal upwelling cycle along the eastern boundary of the North Atlantic. J Marine Res 34(2):131-141Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Ambar
    • 1
  • J. Dias
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of OceanographyUniversity of LisbonPortugal

Personalised recommendations