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Variability of the Southern California wave climate and implications for sediment transport

J. P. Xu and Marlene A. Noble
Variability of the Southern California wave climate and implications for sediment transport (in Earth science in the urban ocean; the Southern California continental borderland, Homa J. Lee (editor) and William R. Normark (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (2009) 454: 171-191

Abstract

We analyzed wave and wind data from 18 buoys in the Southern California Bight to characterize the spatial and temporal variability of the regional wave climate. Point Conception shelters most of the Bight from being directly impacted by North Pacific weather. The wave height inside the sheltered zone and to the east of the Channel Islands is less than half the wave height in the open ocean to the west. Within the sheltered Bight, storm waves (by proxy of being greater than the 95th percentile wave height for more than 6 hours) are mainly from the west, but long period swells (T (sub p) >15 seconds) are mainly from the south-southwest. There are on average two to four storms during each winter month (November-March) and fewer than two storms per month for the rest of the year. The Channel Islands selectively block the westerly swells and make the wave climate in the Santa Barbara Channel different from the rest of the sheltered Bight. A statistically significant wave-height minimum exists in the area offshore Dana Point and Oceanside. The multiyear (2-23 years) wave-data records from all 18 buoys show negligible temporal trend, positive or negative. Like the wave climate, the long-term probability of sediment transport on the continental shelves of the Bight displays large difference between the sheltered and open-ocean (near Point Conception) sites. The return period of incipient sediment motion on the sheltered shelf breaks (one to five months) is at least two orders of magnitude longer than that on the Point Conception shelf break (0.6 day). Similar to the spatial distribution of wave heights, there is a systematic return-period maximum on the shelf off Dana Point and Oceanside.


ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Coden: GSAPAZ
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 454
Title: Variability of the Southern California wave climate and implications for sediment transport
Title: Earth science in the urban ocean; the Southern California continental borderland
Author(s): Xu, J. P.Noble, Marlene A.
Author(s): Lee, Homa J.editor
Author(s): Normark, William R.editor
Affiliation: U. S. Geological Survey, Santa Cruz, CA, United States
Affiliation: U. S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA, United States
Pages: 171-191
Published: 2009
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 26
Accession Number: 2009-074429
Categories: Oceanography
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 8 tables, sketch map
N32°10'00" - N34°45'00", W121°00'00" - W117°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Bedford Institute of Oceanography, CAN, Canada
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 200940
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
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