The Effects of Wind Forcing on Surface Currents on the Continental Shelf Surrounding Rottnest Island
Surface currents play a major role in the distribution
of contaminants, the connectivity of marine populations, and can
influence the vertical and horizontal distribution of nutrients within
the water column. This paper aims to determine the effects of sea
breeze-wind patterns on the climatology of the surface currents on the
continental shelf surrounding Rottnest Island, WA Australia. The
alternating wind patterns allow for full cyclic rotations of wind
direction, permitting the interpretation of the effect of the wind on the
surface currents. It was found that the surface currents only clearly
follow the northbound Capes Current in times when the Fremantle
Doctor sets in. Surface currents react within an hour to a change of
direction of the wind, allowing southerly currents to dominate during
strong northerly sea breezes, often followed by mixed currents
dominated by eddies in the inter-lying times.
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