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Since the 1980s, our understanding of such important large-scale phenomena as El Ni?o events and the California Current System that drive physical, chemical, and biologic processes along the U.S. west coast has greatly improved. However, our ability to predict the influence of annual and interannual events on a regional scale still remains limited. We have analyzed high-resolution hourly data from eight National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration buoys deployed since the early 1980s off central California to study spatial and temporal variations in oceanographic and meteorologic forcing along the coast. We identified seasonal to interannual trends in significant wave height, dominant wave period, sea-level barometric pressure, sea-surface water temperature, windspeed, and wind direction were identified, as well as significant departures in these trends during El Ni?o and La Ni?a periods. The results suggest increasing wave heights and wave periods, decreasing sea-level barometric pressures and variations in sea-surface water temperatures, and increasing variations in windspeed and wind direction off central California between 1980 and 2002.
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Spatial and temporal variations in oceanographic and meteorologic forcing along the central California coast, 1980-2002