23 Feb 2024
 | 23 Feb 2024

Intensified upwelling: normalized sea surface temperature trends expose climate change in coastal areas

Miguel Angel Gutierrez-Guerra, Maria Dolores Perez-Hernandez, and Pedro Velez-Belchi

Abstract. The Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems (EBUSs) provide valuable natural resources due to their high primary production. However, there is significant uncertainty in how climate change may affect the mechanisms that sustain these ecosystems in the future. Therefore, assessing the effects of climate change on the EBUS under the current global warming scenario is crucial for efficient ecosystem management. In 1990, Andrew Bakun suggested an increase in the upwelling intensity due to the rise of the ocean-land pressure gradient. Since there is a significant link between thermal gradients and offshore Ekman transport, we use deseasonalized sea surface temperature (SST) data from remote sensing to elucidate this hypothesis and validate it using in-situ observations. SST is an indicator of coastal upwelling, and our long-term analysis of monthly and deseasonalized SST records shows that the seasonal and synoptic processes have minimal influence on the SST-upwelling intensity relationship. Upwelling within the same EBUS is not usually evenly distributed along coastlines, leading to upwelling in specific regions, upwelling centers. We compare the SST trends in the main upwelling centers of the four EBUS with those in open ocean waters through a new index, αUI, designed to characterize upwelling changes in the EBUSs. An adimensional number allows us to normalize the trends independently of the upwelling system and compare all of them. This new index indicates intensification in all the EBUS, revealing a coherent pattern within EBUS in the same ocean (i.e., Canarian and Benguela or Californian and Humboldt Upwelling Systems).

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Miguel Angel Gutierrez-Guerra, Maria Dolores Perez-Hernandez, and Pedro Velez-Belchi

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-389', Anonymous Referee #1, 01 May 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-389', Anonymous Referee #2, 31 May 2024
Miguel Angel Gutierrez-Guerra, Maria Dolores Perez-Hernandez, and Pedro Velez-Belchi
Miguel Angel Gutierrez-Guerra, Maria Dolores Perez-Hernandez, and Pedro Velez-Belchi


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Short summary
Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems (EBUSs) are crucial for resources, but climate change poses uncertainties for their future. To assess global warming's impact, we examine Andrew Bakun's 1990 hypothesis of intensified upwelling using deseasonalized sea surface temperature data. A new index, αUI, normalizes upwelling trends against non-upwelling processes, confirming intensification in all EBUSs and supporting Bakun's hypothesis.