Coastal upwelling front detection offCentral Chile (36.5-37°S) and spatio-temporal variability of Frontal characteristics

Vera Oerder, Joaquim P. Bento, Carmen E. Morales, Samuel Hormazabal, Oscar Pizarro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems, cold coastal waters are separated from offshore by a strong cross-shore Sea Surface Temperature (SST) gradient zone. This upwelling front plays a major role for the coastal ecosystem. This paper proposes a method to automatically identify the front and define its main characteristics (position, width, and intensity) from high resolution data. The spatio-temporal variability of the front characteristics is then analyzed in a region offCentral Chile (37°S), from 2003 to 2016. The front is defined on daily 1 km-resolution SST maps by isotherm T0 with T0 computed from mean SST with respect to the distance from the coast. The probability of detecting a front, as well as the front width and intensity are driven by coastal wind conditions and increased over the 2007-2016 period compared to the 2003-2006 period. The front position, highly variable, is related to the coastal jet configuration and does not depend on the atmospheric forcing. This study shows an increase by 14% in the probability of detecting a front and also an intensification by 17% of the cross-front SST difference over the last 14 years. No trend was found in the front position.

Original languageEnglish
Article number690
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2018


  • Climate change
  • Coastal upwelling front detection
  • Eastern Boundary Upwelling System
  • Upwelling spatio-temporal variability


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