California Current Ecosystem - United States of America
California Current Ecosystem
United States of America
The CCE-LTER site is a coastal upwelling ecosystem. The study region encompasses the southern sector of the California Current System, extending from San Diego northward beyond Monterey Bay and from the shoreline to ~ 500 km offshore. The California Current (CC) proper forms the eastern limb of the large, clockwise circulation of the subtropical gyre of the North Pacific Ocean. As part of the water from the Westwind Drift turns southward and becomes the California Current, it carries cool, fresh water from the Subarctic Pacific. The California Current System off central and southern California includes the broad, eddy-rich southward flowing California Current; a persistent but variable subsurface California Undercurrent centered on the continental slope that carries water of tropical origin poleward; and a circulation over and near the continental shelf that is energetic and highly seasonal, shifting from a wind-driven equatorward flow and coastal upwelling in spring-summer to poleward flow in fall-winter (Hickey 1998). The pelagic ecosystem of the CCE-LTER site is forced by atmospheric and ocean processes on multiple spatial (local, regional, and basin) and temporal (diel through decadal) scales.
General Characteristics and Status