Seasons in the Sea - A month-by-month guide to Central California sea life

Section contents:

Windy ocean: Image credit-David Clague, MBARI

Winds, waves, and currents

for October

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Diver-at-work symbol (c) Kim Fulton-Bennett This page under construction.
Here are some of the topics that will be covered in this chapter. More text and images will eventually be added to this section. Thank you for your patience.

Physical processes in October:

  • During the first part of October, the Pacific High is typically large and strong, and is spreads over the coast. Thus winds are often light and variable. Because the temperatures of the water and the air are similar, the low clouds and fog that typically form under the eastern part of the Pacific High are much less common near sore than in during the summer months.
  • As in September, the California Current flows relatively close to the coast (it's core comes to within about 100 miles from the coast), but by October, it has become very weak and meandering (it's at its weakest in October).
  • As northwest winds and upwelling events become rare, the upwelling-induced currents and plumes of cold water also cease. Similarly, the large counter-clockwise eddies that form in protected waters such as the Gulf of the Farallons and Monterey Bay during the spring and summer also become weaker. So do and the oceanic fronts the form at boundaries between the upwelled water and water closer to shore.
  • Near-shore waters are warmed by the sun. Relatively warm (60-65 deg F), blue, oceanic water sometimes flows toward shore, sweeping into Monterey Bay and other protected areas.
  • By the late October or early November, the Pacific High becomes weaker and low-pressure systems begin moving farther south, toward the Central Coast. Nearshore currents switch from flowing soutward to flowing northward, as the northerly-flowing Davidson Current begins to affect the coastal waters.

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