Processes Affecting Upper Ocean Chemical Structure in an Eastern Boundary Current

  • James J. Simpson
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 17)


The primary transport and transformation processes which alter the chemical speciation and structure of the upper (100–200 m) ocean within 1000 km of the Californian coast have been examined from the process-oriented perspective of space and time scale analysis. In this region of the ocean, upwelling, offshore mesoscale eddies and large-scale “El Niño”-type processes dominate. Each of these physical processes has a velocity field which transports chemical species into and out of the euphotic zone in a unique way. Likewise, each of the resulting mass transports produces a chemical signature which unambiguously characterizes that physical process. Major alteration of chemical species which occurs within the euphotic zone is associated with primary biological productivity. The results presented here for the California Current may have general application for the interpretation of near-surface chemical variability observed in large areas of the world’s oceans.


Euphotic Zone Coastal Upwelling California CUrrent California CUrrent System Coastal Zone Color Scanner 
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. Barber, R.T., and Smith, R.L., 1981, Coastal upwelling ecosystems, in: “Analysis of Marine Ecosystems”, A.R. Longhurst, ed., pp. 31–68, Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  2. Bernal, P.A., and McGowan, J.A., 1981, Advection and upwelling in the California Current, in: “Coastal Upwelling”, F.A. Richards, ed., pp. 381–399, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bernstein, R.L., Breaker, L., and Whritner, R., 1977, California Current eddy formation: ship, air and satellite results, Science, N.Y., 195: 353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bradshaw, A.L., Brewer, P.G., Shafer, D.K., and Williams, R.T., 1981, Measurements of total carbon dioxide and alkalinity by potentiometric titration in the GEOSECS program, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 55: 99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brandt, S.A., 1981, Effects of a warm-core eddy on fish distributions in the Tasman Sea off East Australia, Mar. Ecol. Progr. Ser., 6: 19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brandt, S.A., Parker, R.R., and Vaudrey, D.J., 1981, Physical and biological description of warm-core eddy J during September-October, 1979, Report No. 126, CSIRO Division of Fisheries and Oceanography, Cronulla.Google Scholar
  7. Brewer, P.G., 1978, Direct observations of the oceanic CO2 increase, Geophys. Res. Lett., 5: 997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Broecker, W.S., and Takahashi, T., 1978, The relationship between lysocline depth and in situ carbonate ion concentration, Deep-Sea Res., 25: 69.Google Scholar
  9. Charney, J.G., 1955, The generation of ocean currents by wind, J. Mar. Res., 14: 477.Google Scholar
  10. Chen, C.T., and Pytkowicz, R.M., 1979, On the total CO2 — titration alkalinity — oxygen system in the Pacific Ocean, Nature, Lond., 281: 361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cheney, R.E., and Richardson, P.L., 1976, Observed decay of a cyclonic Gulf Stream ring, Deep-Sea Res., 23: 143.Google Scholar
  12. Cox, J., and Wiebe, P.H., 1979, Origins of oceanic plankton in the Middle Atlantic Bight, Estuarine Coastal Mar. Sci., 9: 509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cox, J.L., Haury, L.R., and Simpson, J.J., 1982, Spatial patterns of grazing-related parameters in California coastal surface waters, July 1979, J. Mar. Res., 40: 1127.Google Scholar
  14. Cullen, J.J., and Eppley, R.W., 1981, Chlorophyll maximum layers of the Southern California Bight and possible mechanisms of their formation and maintenance, Oceanol. Acta., 4: 23.Google Scholar
  15. Dengler, A.T., Jr., 1981, Spatial distributions of phytoplankton: Limitations of power spectrum techniques, Ph.D. Thesis, University of California, San Diego.Google Scholar
  16. Donguy, J.R., Dessier, A., and Meyers, G., 1983, The 1982 Nino-like event, Trop. Ocean-Atmos. Newsl., 16: 7.Google Scholar
  17. Ekman, V.W., 1905, On the influence of the earth’s rotation on ocean currents, Ark. Math. Astr. Fys. (Stockholm), 2: 1.Google Scholar
  18. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Department of Fisheries, 1981, “Atlas of the Living Resources of the Sea”, pp. 13–19, FAO, Rome.Google Scholar
  19. Gill, A.E., 1982, “Atmosphere-Ocean Dynamics”, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  20. Haury, L.R., 1984, An offshore eddy in the California Current System, Part IV: Plankton distributions, Progr. Oceanogr., 13: 95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Haury, L.R., McGowan, J.A., and Wiebe, P.H., 1978, Patterns and processes in the time-space scales of plankton distributions, in: “Spatial Pattern in Plankton Communities”, J.H. Steele, ed., pp. 277–327, Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  22. Hurlburt, H.E., Kindle, J.C., and O’Brien, J.J., 1976, A numerical simulation of the onset of El Nino, J. Phys. Oceanogr., 6: 621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jitts, H.R., 1965, The summer characteristics of primary productivity in the Tasman and Coral Seas, Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res., 20: 65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Keeling, C.D., 1968, Carbon dioxide in surface ocean waters, 4. Global distribution, J. Geophys. Res., 73: 4543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Koblinsky, C.J., Simpson, J.J., and Dickey, T.D., 1984, An offshore eddy in the California Current System, Part II: Surface manifestation, Progr. Oceanogr., 13: 51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Longhurst, A., 1976, Interactions between zooplankton and phytoplankton in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean, Deep-Sea Res., 23: 729.Google Scholar
  27. Lukashev, Yu.F., and Chernyakova, A.M., 1979, Variability of nitrate fields associated with the passage of eddy formations, Mar. Chem., 19: 409.Google Scholar
  28. Lynn, R.J., 1967, Seasonal variation of temperature and salinity at 10 m in the California Current, Ca1COFI Reports, 11: 157.Google Scholar
  29. Lynn, R.J., 1983a, The 1982–83 warm episode in the California Current, Geophys. Res. Lett., 10: 1093.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lynn, R.J., 1983b, Anomalous steric height in the California Current during the 1983–83 warm episode, Trop. Ocean-Atmos. Newsl., 21: 23.Google Scholar
  31. Lynn, R.J., Bliss, K.A., and Eber, L.E., 1982, “Vertical and horizontal distributions of seasonal mean temperature, salinity, sigma-t, stability, dynamic height, oxygen and oxygen saturation in the California Current, 1957–58”, Ca1COFI Atlas 30, University of California, San Diego.Google Scholar
  32. McCreary, J.P., 1976, Eastern tropical ocean response to changing wind systems: with application to El Nino, J. Phys. Oceanogr., 6: 632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McGowan, J.A., 1983, El Nino and biological production in the California Current, Trop. Ocean-Atmos. Newsl., 21: 23.Google Scholar
  34. Minas, H.J., Packard, T.T., Minas, M., and Coste, B., 1982, An analysis of the production-regeneration system in the coastal upwelling area off N. W. Africa based on oxygen, nitrate and ammonium distributions, J. Mar. Res., 40: 615.Google Scholar
  35. Mysak, L.A., 1980, Topographically trapped waves, Ann. Rev. Fluid Mech., 12: 45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nilsson, C.S., and Cresswell, G.R., 1981, The formation and evolution of East Australian Current warm-core eddies, Progr. Oceanogr., 9: 133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Peláez, J., 1984, Phytoplankton pigment concentrations and patterns in the California Current as determined by satellite, Ph.D. Thesis, University of California, San Diego.Google Scholar
  38. Peterson, W.T., Miller, C.B., and Hutchinson, A., 1979, Zonation and the maintenance of copepod populations in the Oregon upwelling zone, Deep-Sea Res., 26: 467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Quinn, W.R., 1974, Monitoring and predicting El Nino invasion, J. Appl. Meteorol., 13: 825.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Redfield, A.C., Ketchum, B.H., and Richards, F.A., 1963, The influence of organisms on the composition of sea water, in: “The Sea”, Volume 2, M.N. Hill, ed., pp. 26–77, Wiley-Interscience, New York.Google Scholar
  41. Ring Group, The, 1981, Gulf Stream cold-core rings: Their physics, chemistry and biology, Science, N.Y., 212: 1091.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ryther, J.H., 1969, Photosynthesis and fish production in the sea, Science, N.Y., 166: 72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Scott, B.D., 1978, Hydrological features of a warm-core eddy and their biological implications, Report No. 100, CSIRO Division of Fisheries and Oceanography, Cronulla.Google Scholar
  44. Scott, B.D., 1981, Hydrological structure and phytoplankton distribution in the region of a warm-core eddy in the Tasman Sea, Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res., 32: 479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Shiller, A.M., and Gieskes, S.M., 1980, Processes affecting the oceanic distributions of dissolved calcium and alkalinity, J. Geophys. Res., 85: 2719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Shulenberger, E., and Reid, J.L., 1981, The Pacific shallow oxygen maximum, deep chlorophyll maximum, and primary productivity, reconsidered, Deep-Sea Res., 28: 901.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Simpson, J.J., 1983, Large-scale thermal anomalies in the California Current during the 1982–1983 El Nino, Geophys. Res. Lett., 10: 937.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Simpson, J.J., 1984a, An offshore eddy in the California Current System, Part III: Chemical structure, Progr. Oceanogr., 13: 71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Simpson, J.J., 1984b, On the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between ocean and atmosphere in an eastern boundary current, in: “Gas Transfer at Water Surfaces”, W. Brutsaert and G.H. Jirka, eds, pp. 505–514, Reidel, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  50. Simpson, J.J., 1984c, El Nino-induced onshore transport in the California Current during 1982–83, Geophys. Res. Lett., 11: 233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Simpson, J.J., 1984d, A simple model of the 1982–83 Californian El Nino, Geophys. Res. Lett., 11: 237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Simpson, J.J., 1985, Air-sea exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen induced by phytoplankton: Methods and interpretation, in: “Mapping Strategies in Chemical Oceanography”, A. Zirino, ed., pp. 409–450, American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Simpson, J.J., and Zirino, A., 1980, Biological control of pH in the Peruvian coastal upwelling area, Deep-Sea Res., 27: 733.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Simpson, J.J., Dickey, T.D., and Koblinsky, C.J., 1984a, An offshore eddy in the California Current System, Part I: Interior dynamics, Progr. Oceanogr., 13: 5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Simpson, J.J., Koblinsky, C.J., Haury, L.R., and Dickey, T.D., 1984b, An offshore eddy in the California Current System, Preface, Progr. Oceanogr., 13: 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Skirrow, G., 1975, The dissolved gases: carbon dioxide, in: “Chemical Oceanography”, Second Edition, Volume 2, J.P. Riley and G. Skirrow, eds, pp. 1–181, Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  57. Smith, R.L., 1968, Upwelling, Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev., 6: 11.Google Scholar
  58. Smith, R.L., 1981, A comparison of the structure and variability of the flow field in three coastal upwelling regions: Oregon, northwest Africa and Peru, in: “Coastal Upwelling — Coastal and Estuarine Science”, Volume 1, F.P. Richards, ed., pp. 107–118, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  59. Stefánsson, U., and Richards, F.A., 1964, Distributions of dissolved oxygen, density and nutrients off the Washington and Oregon coasts, Deep-Sea Res., 11: 355.Google Scholar
  60. Stommel, H., 1963, Varieties of oceanographic experience, Science, N.Y., 139: 572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Takahashi, T., 1981, GEOSECS Carbonate Chemistry, in: “GEOSECS Atlantic Expedition, Volume 1, Hydrographic Data”, A.E. Bainbridge, ed., pp. 61–63, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  62. Traganza, E.D., Conrad, J.C., and Breaker, L.C., 1981, Satellite observations of a cyclonic upwelling system and “giant plume” in the California Current, in: “Coastal Upwelling–Coastal and Estuarine Science”, Volume I, F.P. Richards, ed., pp. 228–241, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  63. Tranter, D.J., Parker, R.R., and Cresswell, G.R., 1980, Are warm-core eddies unproductive?, Nature, Lond., 284: 540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Vastano, A.C., Schmitz, J.E., and Hagan, D.E., 1980, The physical oceanography of two rings observed by the Cyclonic Ring Experiment, Part 1: Physical structures, J. Phys. Oceanogr., 10: 493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Venrick, E.L., 1979, The lateral extent and characteristics of the North Pacific Central environment at 350N, Deep-Sea Res., 26: 1153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Weiss, R.F., 1970, The solubility of nitrogen, oxygen, and argon in water and seawater, Deep-Sea Res., 17: 721.Google Scholar
  67. Weiss, R.F., Jahnke, R.A., and Keeling, C.D., 1982, Seasonal effects of temperature and salinity on the partial pressure of CO2 in seawater, Nature, Lond., 300: 511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Yoder, J.A., Atkinson, L.P., Lee, T.N., Kim, H.H., and McClain, C.R., 1981, Role of Gulf Stream frontal eddies in forming phytoplankton patches on the outer southeastern shelf, Limnol. Oceanogr., 28: 1103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Yoshida, K., 1955, Coastal upwelling off the California coast, Rec. Oceanogr. Works Jpn, 2: 8.Google Scholar
  70. Yoshida, K., 1967, Circulation in the eastern tropical oceans with special reference to upwelling and undercurrents, Japan. J. Geophys., 4: 1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • James J. Simpson
    • 1
  1. 1.Scripps Institution of OceanographyLa JollaUSA

Personalised recommendations