Upwelling Case Study – Investigating Sea-Surface Temperature

Investigating Physical Ocean Conditions

Sea surface temperature data

Upwelling brings deep, cold water is brought to the surface; thus sea surface temperature (SST) data can help to determine if upwelling occurred during summer months. Satellites, such as NOAA’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR), measure SST. The images below show summer SST over much of the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Like most ocean regimes, the warm upper layers of Monterey Bay rest on relatively colder and denser waters. When upwelling is strong, however, very cold water can reach from depth to the surface. At left, time-series plots show winter temperatures through the water column at the M1 and M2 moorings. Upwelling conditions are shown as dark blue extending through all depths at a given time.

Given these water temperature patterns, do you think that upwelling occurred during the summer months?

If so, hit “GO!” to see biological data:

If not, choose another season to investigate:

Additional Resources:

Upwelling Case Study | Next Step: Examining Biological Data >


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