Surface Circulation Patterns by Dr. C Winant

(I recommend having a coastal map handy.)


This morning I attended a lecture on how the weather (meteorology) is affected by the unusual wind conditions here in the Channel Island Region. It is normal for the winds to blow down the California coast from the north, but as these winds run into Point Conception their route is *altered. The coastal area that runs from Point Conception to Ventura is protected by the Point and when cold winds (usually low pressure), meet the warmer air (usually high pressure) along the Santa Barbara coastal area, the high pressure and low pressure clash and cause the winds to turn and travel from the east to the west. The weather here on the coast can be perfectly beautiful yet just 4 miles out the temperature, marine layer, and condition of the oceanUs surface can be very different.

After the presentation I interviewed Dr. Winant, to get a clearer picture of this situation.He told me there is an abundance of wildlife in the Channel Region partially because the water currents in and around the Channel Islands is often colder, more windy and has a marine layer all *contributing to *upwelling in the ocean which brings an abundance of food (plants and animals)closer to the surface to be eaten by the residents or *migratory visitors. Dr. Winant also pointed out that along the coast right below Point Conception the marine layer is often held out to sea, by these winds that blow east to west, therefore allowing more sunlight to reach the ocean plants along the coast providing strong plant growth for those plant eaters.

*These are good vocabulary words to learn and you might want to look them up in a dictionary to increase your understanding.

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