Almost like clockwork, on the spring equinox, the skies cleared and the afternoon winds blew from the northwest. The timing of when the winter winds, which predominantly blow from the south, switch and blow from the north is termed the spring transition.
It is these summertime winds from the north that fuel the upwelling of nutrient rich waters onto the continental shelf. The timing of the onset of these upwelling winds is important because they fuel the blooms of phytoplankton (and possibly harmful algal blooms); and alongshore currents during this time transport lipid-rich copepods to our region.
Was the first day of spring the onset of this ecologically important event?
While the winds were out of the northwest yesterday, this morning I woke up to rain, and the winds were blowing from the south again signifying that this short event was not the spring transition.
We'll have to wait and see when the physical spring transition actually occurs.
Tagged: NH Line
We've just returned from a 6-day trip aboard the R/V Bell M. Shimada. We had a rough go of it, with 40-kt winds and 16-20 foot swells that hampered our sampling and sleeping efforts. Despite the weather, we sailed to down to Crescent City and managed to hit most of our important stations, including sampling 200 nm out on the Newport Line. It was never a dull moment with a variety of projects happening day and night. Scientists were monitoring HABs along transects, observing marine mammals, and trawling for commercially important fishes. And of course, CTD casts and plankton tows.
The ocean was well-mixed at most stations because of the winter storms. Pyrosomes were collected at offshore stations, greater than 15 nm, from Crescent City to Newport.