Turbulent Jets and Eddies in the California Current and Inferred Cross-Shore Transports

Science  06 Jan 1984:
Vol. 223, Issue 4631, pp. 51-53
DOI: 10.1126/science.223.4631.51


The instantaneous California Current is seen to consist of intense meandering current filaments (jets) intermingled with synoptic-mesoscale eddies. These quasi-geostrophic jets entrain cold, upwelled coastal waters and rapidly advect them far offshore; this behavior accounts for the elongated, cool surface features that are seen extending across the California Current region in satellite infrared imagery. The associated advective mechanism should provide significant cross-shore transports of heat, nutrients, biota, and pollutants. The dynamics of the current system should be crucially influenced by its highly variable structure.