Contextualizing time-series data: quantification of short-term regional variability in the San Pedro Channel using high-resolution in situ glider data

by Teel, E. N., X. Liu, B. N. Seegers, M. A. Ragan, W. Z. Haskell, B. H. Jones, N. M. Levine
Year: 2018 DOI: 10.5194/bg-15-6151-2018


Oceanic time series have been instrumental in providing an understanding of biological, physical, and chemical dynamics in the oceans and how these processes change over time. However, the extrapolation of these results to larger oceanographic regions requires an understanding and characterization of local versus regional drivers of variability. Here we use high-frequency spatial and temporal glider data to quantify variability at the coastal San Pedro Ocean Time-series (SPOT) site in the San Pedro Channel (SPC) and provide insight into the underlying oceanographic dynamics for the site. The dataset could be described by a combination of four water column profile types that typified active upwelling, a surface bloom, warm-stratified low-nutrient conditions, and a subsurface chlorophyll maximum. On weekly timescales, the SPOT station was on average representative of 64 % of profiles taken within the SPC. In general, shifts in water column profile characteristics at SPOT were also observed across the entire channel. On average, waters across the SPC were most similar to offshore profiles, suggesting that SPOT time series data would be more impacted by regional changes in circulation than local coastal events. These results indicate that high-resolution in situ glider deployments can be used to quantify major modes of variability and provide context for interpreting time series data, allowing for broader application of these datasets and greater integration into modeling efforts.