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Huyer A.. Coastal upwelling in the California current system. Prog Oceanogr 12: 259
Coastal upwelling in the California Current system has been the subject of large scale studies off California and Baja California, and of small scale studies off Oregon. Recent studies of the winds along the entire coast from 25°N to 50°N indicate that there are significant along-shore variations in the strength of coastal upwelling, which are reflected in the observed temperature distribution. Active upwelling appears to be restricted to a narrow coastal band (about 10–25 km wide) along the entire coast, but the region influenced by coastal upwelling may be much wider. Intensive observations of the upwelling zone during summer off Oregon show the presence of a southward coastal jet at the surface, a mean vertical shear, a poleward undercurrent along the bottom, and persistently sloping isopycnals over the continental shelf; most of the upwelling there occurs during relatively short periods (several days long) of upwelling-favorable winds. During the upwelling season off Oregon, the offshore Ekman transport is carried by the surface Ekman layer, and the onshore return flow occurs through a quasi-geostrophic interior. It is not known whether the structure and dynamics observed off Oregon are typical of the upwelling zone along the entire coast, though some of the same features have been observed off Baja California. Current and future research will eventually show whether the Oregon results are also applicable in the region of persistently strong upwelling-favorable winds off northern California, and in the region of complex bathymetry off central and southern California.