Numerical Simulation of a Satellite-Observed Calm Zone in Montetey Bay, California

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  • 1 Naval Environmental Prediction Research Facility, Monterey, CA 93943
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Abstract

Satellite imagery from 18 April 1978 suggests the presence of a semicircular zone of calm or new-calm seas in Monterey Bay, California. It is hypothesized that sea breeze circulations account for the calm zone in the bay, although a lack of in situ surface and upper air observations prevents direct verification of this theory. A three-dimensional numerical model of the marine atmospheric boundary layer is used to simulate the development of the low-level wind field on the day in question, under sea breeze conditions. The model produces a zone of winds speeds under 1.0 m s−1 over the center of the bay, near the time of the satellite image. These model results suggest that a sea breeze circulation may have accounted for the zone of very light winds and calm sea.

Abstract

Satellite imagery from 18 April 1978 suggests the presence of a semicircular zone of calm or new-calm seas in Monterey Bay, California. It is hypothesized that sea breeze circulations account for the calm zone in the bay, although a lack of in situ surface and upper air observations prevents direct verification of this theory. A three-dimensional numerical model of the marine atmospheric boundary layer is used to simulate the development of the low-level wind field on the day in question, under sea breeze conditions. The model produces a zone of winds speeds under 1.0 m s−1 over the center of the bay, near the time of the satellite image. These model results suggest that a sea breeze circulation may have accounted for the zone of very light winds and calm sea.

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