A Lagrangian study tracing water parcel origins in the Canary Upwelling System
Evan Mason, Francois Colas and Josep L. Pelegrí

The regional ocean circulation within the Canary Upwelling System between 31°N and 35°N is studied using numerical tools. Seasonal mean and near-instantaneous velocity fields from a previously-generated climatological Regional Ocean Modelling System (ROMS) solution of the Canary Basin are used to force a series of offline Lagrangian particle-tracking experiments. The primary objective is to identify the pathways through which water parcels arrive at the upwelling region north of Cape Ghir. Examining year-long pathways, the Azores Current contributes over 80% of particles annually, of which a large proportion arrive directly from offshore (from the northwest), while others travel along the shelf and slope from the Gulf of Cadiz. The remaining ~20% originate within the Gulf of Cadiz or come from the south, although the southern contribution is only significant in autumn and winter. When season-long pathways are considered, the alongshore contributions become increasingly important: northern contributions reach 40% in spring and summer, while southern values exceed 35% in winter. This study also shows that coastal upwelling changes both spatially and temporally. Upwelling becomes intensified near Cape Beddouza, with most upwelling occurring within ~40 km from shore although significant values may reach as far as 120 km offshore north of Cape Beddouza; at these locations the offshore integrated upwelling reaches as much as 4 times the offshore Ekman transport. In the Cape Beddouza area (32°N to 33°N), upwelling is negligible in February but intensifies in autumn, reaching as much as 3 times the offshore Ekman transport.

Keywords: Canary Upwelling System, Canary Current, Lagrangian model, hydrodynamic model, ROMS, seasonal variability
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 76S1 : 79-94 Back PDF
Please, send comments to
ICM (CSIC) - Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, 37-49. E-08003 Barcelona (Spain)