Relative influence of oceanic and terrestrial pressure systems in driving upwelling-favorable winds

M. García-Reyes, W. J. Sydeman, B. A. Black, R. R. Rykaczewski, D. S. Schoeman, S. A. Thompson, S. J. Bograd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We use the 20th Century Reanalysis database to assess the influence of oceanic and terrestrial atmospheric pressure systems on winter and summer upwelling-favorable winds in Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems. The analysis provides baseline information regarding the roles of continental thermal low (CTL) and oceanic high (OH) pressure systems in driving seasonal upwelling modes, which have high biological relevance. We show that variability in upwelling-favorable winds is dominated by OH, particularly in winter, and only weakly influenced by CTL, except at annual time scales. This is most pronounced in the California system given that the North Pacific High dominates wind variability. In contrast, CTL and OH equally influence Benguela upwelling-favorable winds during summer. This work underscores the need to understand how OH systems are likely to respond to climate change and how this might impact coastal winds that drive upwelling and productivity in these ecosystems. Key Points Variability in upwelling winds largely driven by oceanic pressure systems North Pacific High dominates winter upwelling winds in the California system Summer winds in the Benguela equally influenced by land/ocean pressure systems

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5311-5315
Number of pages5
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 16 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • continental thermal low
  • subtropical highs
  • upwelling winds
  • winter upwelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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