Intraseasonal variability of wind-forced coastal upwelling off central Chile (30°S)

José A. Rutllant, Benjamín Rosenbluth, Samuel Hormazabal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Satellite-derived along-shore windstress variability off subtropical Chile at intraseasonal periods has been recently associated with the corresponding wind variability over the tropical Pacific. Along the coastal strip in which satellite winds can not be resolved, wind-driven upwelling might be in principle modulated through large-scale intraseasonal changes in the strength of the subtropical anticyclone and by intraseasonal ocean coastal-trapped waves (CTWs) through associated changes in coastal sea-surface temperatures. Daily anomalies of band-passed outgoing long-wave radiation over the central equatorial Pacific have been selected to represent Madden-Julian Oscillations, as the dominant mode of equatorially sourced, intraseasonal variability in the atmosphere and coastal ocean. Afternoon alongshore pseudo-windstresses at a representative coastal site in central Chile (30°S) describe the upwelling-favourable wind field over a 30-40km coastal strip. The subtropical anticyclone strength is expressed as a 900-km offshore sea-level pressure (San Felix Island), and the sea-level pressure difference with the coast. CTWs are represented by the smoothed sea-level at 27°S. The intermittent nature of intraseasonal variability led to statistical procedures as Wavelet and Singular-Spectrum (SSA) analyses to search for associations among those series. Cross-correlation analysis of the SSA-reconstructed series with the two principal oscillatory modes (40-100-day, and 28-50-day periods, respectively), shows that intraseasonal variability in the subtropical anticyclone strength, partially associated with the Pacific South America teleconnection pattern, has the best association with coastal windstress variability. CTWs appeared to be important in their association with coastal winds only during strong MJO activity in connection with El Niño in the low-frequency intraseasonal band, while in the high-frequency one a fraction of the ASL variability appears to be locally wind-forced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-804
Number of pages16
JournalContinental Shelf Research
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Central Chile (30°S)
  • Coastal upwelling
  • Humboldt current system
  • Intraseasonal variability
  • Local wind forcing


Dive into the research topics of 'Intraseasonal variability of wind-forced coastal upwelling off central Chile (30°S)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this