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Seasonal variability of the Canary Current: A numerical study
Mason, E.; Colas, F.; Molemaker, J.; Shchepetkin, A.F.; Troupin, C.; McWilliams, J.C.; Sangra, P. (2011). Seasonal variability of the Canary Current: A numerical study. J. Geophys. Res. 116. dx.doi.org/10.1029/2010JC006665
In: Journal of Geophysical Research. American Geophysical Union: Richmond. ISSN 0148-0227, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Mason, E.
  • Colas, F.
  • Molemaker, J.
  • Shchepetkin, A.F.
  • Troupin, C., more
  • McWilliams, J.C.
  • Sangra, P.

Abstract
    A high-resolution numerical model study of the Canary Basin in the northeast subtropical Atlantic Ocean is presented. A long-term climatological solution from the Regional Oceanic Modeling System (ROMS) reveals mesoscale variability associated with the Azores and Canary Current systems, the northwest African coastal upwelling, and the Canary Island archipelago. The primary result concerns the Canary Current (CanC) which, in the solution, transports similar to 3 Sv southward in line with observations. The simulated CanC has a well-defined path with pronounced seasonal variability. This variability is shown to be mediated by the westward passage of two large annually excited counterrotating anomalous structures that originate at the African coast. The anomalies have a sea surface expression, permitting their validation using altimetry and travel at the phase speed of baroclinic planetary (Rossby) waves. The role of nearshore wind stress curl variability as a generating mechanism for the anomalies is confirmed through a sensitivity experiment forced by low-resolution winds. The resulting circulation is weak in comparison to the base run, but the propagating anomalies are still discernible, so we cannot discount a further role in their generation being played by annual reversals of the large-scale boundary flow that are known to occur along the African margin. An additional sensitivity experiment, where the Azores Current is removed by closing the Strait of Gibraltar presents the same anomalies and CanC behavior as the base run, suggesting that the CanC is rather insensitive to upstream variability from the Azores Current.

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