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Estimates of Horizontal Divergence and Vertical Velocity in the Equatorial Pacific

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  • 1 Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, University of Miami, Miami, Florida
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Abstract

Horizontal divergence and vertical velocity in the surface mixed layer of the equatorial Pacific between 90° and 150°W are estimated from current measurements obtained from trajectories of freely drifting buoys during 1979–1990. The 12-year averaged horizontal divergence is predominantly meridional and has a maximum magnitude of 3–4 (× 10−6 s−1) in a 20-km-wide latitude band cantered on the equator. Using the equation of continuity, this divergence corresponds to an upwelling velocity of 1.5–2 (× 10−4 m s−1) at 50-m depth. The seasonal variations of equatorial divergence are in good agreement with the local zonal wind stress.

Abstract

Horizontal divergence and vertical velocity in the surface mixed layer of the equatorial Pacific between 90° and 150°W are estimated from current measurements obtained from trajectories of freely drifting buoys during 1979–1990. The 12-year averaged horizontal divergence is predominantly meridional and has a maximum magnitude of 3–4 (× 10−6 s−1) in a 20-km-wide latitude band cantered on the equator. Using the equation of continuity, this divergence corresponds to an upwelling velocity of 1.5–2 (× 10−4 m s−1) at 50-m depth. The seasonal variations of equatorial divergence are in good agreement with the local zonal wind stress.

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