Ocean color at NASA

NASA has put Pt. Sal at the center of their ocean-color reporting (a coincidence?). Thanks to Kate Adams for pointing out the current regional phytoplankton bloom: It’s on the front page of ocean color today:

“On October 4, 2017 the Aqua/MODIS sensor saw some oceanic fall color that is less often noticed than the corresponding land-based colors of deciduous forests. The offshore colors in the above view of western North America are from sunlight reflected by water and phytoplankton.”

Going with the flow

SIO drifters are ready to roll. On our way to Pismo, we successfully retrieved the IOP1 beached drifter from Vandenberg AFB. Thank you to the staff for their assistance!

26 charged GPS units, 26 bundles of CODE drifters, 1 ecstatic Matt Spydell.

Sally Ride soliton measurements

While this experiment highlights the integration of measurements made across our small armada, the scientists on each ship also integrate data from several instrument platforms. On Sally Ride, we are chasing solitons like those seen in the aerial photos from a previous post.

We are using a profiling instrument (affectionately known as the Very Merry Profiler) cast over the stern of the ship

as well as a daisy chain of thermistors hanging from the bow.

In the figure, the bottom panel displays temperature in the top 20-m as measured by the bow chain. Black dots show the turbulent dissipation rate, indicating the strength of mixing, overlaid on the temperature measurements. The areas where we see large dissipation correspond to areas of large temperature gradients, indicating high mixing where solitons depress the thermocline dramatically changing the temperature.



Another upcoming wind shift

The NRL COAMPS atmospheric model predicts another upcoming regional shift in the wind conditions off of Pt. Sal. The figure on top is the latest nowcast. A portion of a high-pressure system is seen offshore of Pt. Sal in this 2km nested model. Winds are predominantly from the northwest, howling at 20 knots.

The bottom figure is the 72 hour forecast. Regional winds are about half as strong and now are from the West/Southwest: Another wind relaxation. Conditions might change even sooner, though – the forecast for tomorrow looks more like the bottom than the top.

Upwelling resumes

The relaxation from last week is no more.

Available real time wind data from nearby buoys are posted on the CENCOOS portal ( Winds are now mostly from the north-northwest, and have picked up in intensity. That sea breeze signal is beyond wicked in nearshore wind speed measurements (Port San Luis, cyan color)!

The latest SCCOOS nowcast has assimilated many of these products. Surface shelf currents flow from north-to-south, and the last remnants of warm surface water are hanging on up in Pismo Bay.

scripps oceanography uc san diego