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The influence of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycles on wave-driven sea-floor sediment mobility along the central California continental margin

Continental Shelf Research

By:
and
DOI: 10.1016/j.csr.2010.06.004

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Abstract

Ocean surface waves are the dominant temporally and spatially variable process influencing sea floor sediment resuspension along most continental shelves. Wave-induced sediment mobility on the continental shelf and upper continental slope off central California for different phases of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events was modeled using monthly statistics derived from more than 14 years of concurrent hourly oceanographic and meteorologic data as boundary input for the Delft SWAN wave model, gridded sea floor grain-size data from the usSEABED database, and regional bathymetry. Differences as small as 0.5 m in wave height, 1 s in wave period, and 10° in wave direction, in conjunction with the spatially heterogeneous unconsolidated sea-floor sedimentary cover, result in significant changes in the predicted mobility of continental shelf surficial sediment in the study area. El Niño events result in more frequent mobilization on the inner shelf in the summer and winter than during La Niña events and on the outer shelf and upper slope in the winter months, while La Niña events result in more frequent mobilization on the mid-shelf during spring and summer months than during El Niño events. The timing and patterns of seabed mobility are addressed in context of geologic and biologic processes. By understanding the spatial and temporal variability in the disturbance of the sea floor, scientists can better interpret sedimentary patterns and ecosystem structure, while providing managers and planners an understanding of natural impacts when considering the permitting of offshore activities that disturb the sea floor such as trawling, dredging, and the emplacement of sea-floor engineering structures.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
The influence of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycles on wave-driven sea-floor sediment mobility along the central California continental margin
Series title:
Continental Shelf Research
DOI:
10.1016/j.csr.2010.06.004
Volume
30
Issue:
14
Year Published:
2010
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier
Contributing office(s):
Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description:
18 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Continental Shelf Research
First page:
1582
Last page:
1599
Country:
United States
State:
California