Wind forcing and the seasonal cycles of temperature and currents were investigated on the inner shelf of the Monterey Bay area of the California coast for 460 days, from June 2001 to September 2002. Temperature measurements spanned an approximate 100 km stretch of coastline from a bluff just north of Monterey Bay south to Point Sur. Inner shelf currents were measured at two sites near the bay's northern shore. Seasonal temperature variations were consistent with previous observations from the central California shelf. During the spring, summer and fall, a seasonal mean alongshore current was observed flowing northwestward in the northern bay, in direct opposition to a southeastward wind stress. A barotropic alongshore pressure gradient, potentially driving the northwestward flow, was needed to balance the alongshore momentum equation. With the exception of the winter season, vertical profiles of mean cross-shore currents were consistent with two-dimensional upwelling and existing observations from upwelling regions with poleward subsurface flow. At periods of 15-60 days, temperature fluctuations were coherent both throughout the domain and with the regional wind field. Remote wind forcing was minimal. During the spring upwelling season, alongshore currents and temperatures in the northern bay were most coherent with winds measured at a nearby land meteorological station. This wind site showed relatively low correlations to offshore buoy wind stations, indicating localized wind effects are important to the circulation along this stretch of Monterey Bay's inner shelf. ?? 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Local wind forcing of the Monterey Bay area inner shelf