A Modelling Study of Coastal Upwelling Driven by Wind and Meanders of the Brazil Current

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Abstract

CASTELAO, R.M.; CAMPOS, E.J.D., and MILLER, J.L., 2004. A modelling study of coastal upwelling driven by wind and meanders of the Brazil Current. Journal of Coastal Research, 20(3), 662-671. West Palm Beach (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.

A numerical model is used to investigate coastal upwelling in the South Brazil Bight. The wind in the area is predominantly from the northeast, especially in summer, which is upwelling favorable. Reversals of the wind direction are frequent and intense during the winter, due to the passage of frontal systems. The offshore circulation is dominated by the Brazil Current, which flows southward meandering around the 200 m isobath. Significant shelf-break upwelling has being associated with Brazil Current cyclonic meanders. To assess the relative importance of the two processes in the pumping of South Atlantic Central Water (SACW) onto the continental shelf, three cases are analyzed: (1) wind-driven upwelling; (2) upwelling induced by Brazil Current meanders and (3) both effects acting together. The results show that in the coastal area upwelling/downwelling is mainly caused by the wind, whereas the cyclonic meanders of the Brazil Current are the dominant mechanism in the generation of vertical velocities over the shelf break and slope. This meander-induced upward motion brings the SACW to shallower depths, where it is influenced by the wind. In this situation, when both effects act together, the SACW penetrates all the way to the coast.

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