Coastal / Physical Oceanography

Physical oceanography is the study of ocean currents and the spatial distribution of the physical properties of the ocean including temperature, salinity, and density. These ocean currents and water properties are forced by the sun, wind, tides, and river runoff. Physical oceanographers use instruments at sea to measure ocean currents and water properties, and seek to understand the underlying physical dynamics that create them. Ocean “fronts,” sharp boundaries between different water masses or currents, are of particular interest because they are regions of vigorous circulation and are often associated with enhanced biological activity. The coastal ocean is of interest because this is where winds, waves, tides and rivers all conspire to rapidly change ocean currents and to mix and restratify the water column. Coastal ocean currents flowing along the coast encounter both headlands and bays, but also submarine banks and canyons. This flow-topography interaction results in a breathtaking array of meanders, eddies and jets that shape the coastal marine ecosystem.

Coastal Upwelling

Dale, A. C. and J. A. Barth, 2001. The hydraulics of an upwelling jet flowing around a cape. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 31, 226–243.<0226:THOAEU>2.0.CO;2

Barth, J. A., S. D. Pierce and R. L. Smith, 2000. A separating coastal upwelling jet at Cape Blanco, Oregon and its connection to the California Current System. Deep-Sea Res. II, 47, 783–810. PDF

Barth, J.A. and R. L. Smith, 1998. Separation of a coastal upwelling jet at Cape Blanco, Oregon, USA. In Benguela Dynamics: Impacts of Variability on Shelf-Sea Environments and their Living Resources. Pillar, S. C., Moloney, C. L., Payne, A. I. L. and F. A. Shillington (Eds). S. Afr. J. Mar. Sci., 19, 5–14.

Barth, J.A., 1994. Short-wavelength instabilities on coastal jets and fronts. J. Geophys. Res., 99, 16095–16115.

Barth, J.A., 1989. Stability of a coastal upwelling front: Part II. Model results and comparison with observations. J. Geophys. Res., 94, 10857–10883.

Barth, J.A., 1989. Stability of a coastal upwelling front: Part I. Model development and a stability theorem. J. Geophys. Res., 94, 10844–10856. PDF

Barth, J.A. and K.H. Brink, 1987. Shipboard acoustic Doppler profiler velocity observations near Point Conception: Spring 1983. J. Geophys. Res., 92, 3925–3943. 

California Current System (CCS)

Todd R. E., F. P. Chavez, S. Clayton, S. Cravatte, M. Goes, M. Graco, X. Lin, J. Sprintall, N. V. Zilberman, M. Archer, J. Arístegui, M. Balmaseda, J. M. Bane, M. O. Baringer, J. A. Barth, L. M. Beal, P. Brandt, P. H. R. Calil, E. Campos, L. R. Centurioni, M. P. Chidichimo, M. Cirano, M. F. Cronin, E. N. Curchitser, R. E. Davis, M. Dengler, B. deYoung, D. Dong, R. Escribano, A. J. Fassbender, S. E. Fawcett, M. Feng, G. J. Goni, A. R. Gray, D. Gutiérrez, D. Hebert, R. Hummels, S-I. Ito, M. Krug, F. Lacan, L. Laurindo, A. Lazar, C. M. Lee, M. Lengaigne, N. M. Levine, J. Middleton, I. Montes, M. Muglia, T. Nagai, H. I. Palevsky, J. B Palter, H. E. Phillips, A. Piola, A. J. Plueddemann, B. Qiu, R. R. Rodrigues, M. Roughan,

D. L. Rudnick, R. R. Rykaczewski, M. Saraceno, H. Seim, A. Sen Gupta, L. Shannon, B. M. Sloyan, A. J. Sutton, L. Thompson, A. K. van der Plas, D. Volkov, J. Wilkin, D. Zhang and L. Zhang, 2019. Global perspectives on observing ocean boundary current systems. Front. Mar. Sci.,  6:423, doi:10.3389/fmars.2019.00423.

Shearman, R. K., J. A. Barth, J. S. Allen and R. L. Haney, 2000. Diagnosis of the three-dimensional circulation in mesoscale features with large Rossby number. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 30, 2687–2709. PDF

Pierce, S. D., R. L. Smith, P. M. Kosro, J. A. Barth and C. D. Wilson, 2000. Continuity of the poleward undercurrent along the eastern boundary of the mid-latitude north Pacific. Deep-Sea Res. II, 47, 811–829. PDF

Huyer, A., J. A. Barth, P. M. Kosro, R. K. Shearman and R. L. Smith, 1998. Upper-ocean water mass characteristics of the California current, Summer 1993. Deep-Sea Res. II, 45, 1411–1442.

Strub, P.T., P.M. Kosro, A. Huyer and CTZ Collaborators, 1991. The nature of the cold filaments in the California current system. J. Geophys. Res., 96, 14743–14768. PDF


Barth, J. A., T. J. Cowles and S. D. Pierce, 2001. Mesoscale physical and bio-optical structure of the Antarctic Polar Front near 170◦W during spring. J. Geophys. Res., 106, 13,879–13,902. PDF

Barth, J. A., D. Bogucki, S. D. Pierce and P. M. Kosro, 1998. Secondary circulation associated with a shelfbreak front. Geophys. Res. Lett., 25, 2761–2764.

Chapman, D.C., J.A. Barth, R.C. Beardsley and R.G. Fairbanks, 1986. On the continuity of mean flow between the Scotian Shelf and the Middle Atlantic Bight. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 16, 758–772.<0758:OTCOMF>2.0.CO;2 

Instrumentation Technology and Observing Systems

Schmidt, J. O., S. J. Bograd, H. Arrizabalaga, J. Azevedo, S. J. Barbeaux, J. A. Barth, T. Boyer, S. Brodie, J. J. Cárdenas, S. Cross, J.-N. Druon, A. Fransson, J. Hartog, E. Hazen, A. Hobday, M. Jacox, J. Karstensen, S. Kupschus, J. Lopez, LAS.-P. Madureira, J. E. Martinelli Filho, P. Miloslavich, C. Pereira Santos, K. Scales, S. Speich, M. B. Sullivan, A. Szoboszlai, D. Tommasi, D. Wallace, S. Zador, and P. A. Zawislak, 2019. Future ocean observations to connect climate, fisheries and marine ecosystems. Front. Mar. Sci., 6:550, doi:10.3389/fmars.2019.00550.

Testor P., B. de Young, D. Rudnick, S. Glenn, D. Hayes, C. M. Lee, C. Pattiaratchi, K. Hill, E. Heslop, V. Turpin, P. Alenius, C. Barrera, J. Barth, N. Beaird, G. Bécu, A. Bosse, F. Bourrin, J. A. Brearley, Y. Chao, S. Chen, J. Chiggiato, L. Coppola, R. Crout, J. Cummings, B. Curry, R. Curry, R. Davis, K. Desai, S. DiMarco, C. Edwards, S. Fielding, I. Fer, E. Frajka-Williams, H. Gildor, G. Goni, D. Gutierrez, P. Haugan, D. Hebert, J. Heiderich, S. Henson, K. Heywood, P. Hogan, L. Houpert, S. Huh, M. E. Inall, M. Ishii, S.-i. Ito, S. Itoh, S. Jan, J. Kaiser, J. Karstensen, B. Kirkpatrick, J. Klymak, J. Kohut, G. Krahmann, M. Krug, S. McClatchie, F. Marin, E. Mauri, A. Mehra, M. P. Meredith, T. Meunier, T. Miles, J. M. Morell, L. Mortier, S. Nicholson, J. O’Callaghan, D. O’Conchubhair, P. Oke, E. Pallás-Sanz, M. Palmer, J. Park, L. Perivoliotis, P. M. Poulain, R. Perry, B. Queste, L. Rainville, E. Rehm, M. Roughan, N. Rome, T. Ross, S. Ruiz, G. Saba, A. Schaeffer, M. Schönau, K. Schroeder, Y. Shimizu, B. Sloyan, D. Smeed, D. Snowden, Y. Song, S. Swart, M. Tenreiro, A. Thompson, J. Tintore, R. E. Todd, C. Toro, H. Venables, T. Wagawa, S. Waterman, R. A. Watlington, and D. Wilson, 2019. OceanGliders: A component of the Integrated GOOS. Front. Mar. Sci., 6:422, doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00422

Davis, R. E., L. D. Talley, D. Roemmich, W. B. Owens, D. L. Rudnick, J. Toole, R. Weller, M. J. McPhaden and J. A. Barth, 2019. 100 Years of Progress in Ocean Observing Systems, In “The American Meteorological Society at 100 Years,” Meteorological Monographs, American Meteorological Society,

Trowbridge, J., R. Weller, D. Kelley, E. Dever, A. Plueddemann, J. A. Barth and O. Kawka, 2019. The Ocean Observatories Initiative. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6:74, doi:10.3389/fmars.2019.00074.

Pasmans, I., A. L. Kurapov, J. A. Barth, A. Ignatov, P. M. Kosro, and R. K. Shearman, 2019. Why gliders appreciate good company: Glider assimilation in the Oregon-Washington coastal ocean 4DVAR system with and without surface observations, J. Geophys. Res., 124,

Barth, J. A., S. E. Allen, E. P. Dever, R. K. Dewey, W. Evans, R. A. Feely, J. Fisher, J. P. Fram, B. Hales, D. Ianson, J. Jackson, K. Juniper, O. Kawka, D. Kelly, J. M. Klymak, J. Konovsky, P. M. Kosro, A. Kurapov, E. Mayorga, P. McCready, J. Newton, R. I. Perry, C. M. Risien, M. Robert, T. Ross, R. K. Shearman, J. Schumacker, S. Siedlecki, V. L. Trainer, S. Waterman, and C. E. Wingard, 2019. Better regional ocean observing through cross-nation cooperation: A case study from the Northeast Pacific. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6:93,

Ott, M. W., J. A. Barth and A. Y. Erofeev, 2004. Microstructure measurements from a towed undulating platform. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 21, 1621-1632.<1621:MMFATU>2.0.CO;2 

Pierce, S. D., J. A. Barth and R. L. Smith, 1999. Improving acoustic Doppler current profiler accuracy with wide-area differential GPS and adaptive smoothing of ship velocity. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 16, 591–596.<0591:IADCPA>2.0.CO;2

Kosro, P. M., J. A. Barth and P. T. Strub, 1997. The coastal jet: Observations of surface currents over the Oregon continental shelf from HF radar. Oceanography, 10, 53–56.


Miller, A. J., J. C. McWilliams, N. Schneider, J. S. Allen, J. A. Barth, R. C. Beardsley, T. K. Chereskin, C. A. Edwards, R. L. Haney, K. A. Kelly, J. C. Kindle, L. N. Ly, J. R. Moisan, M. A. Noble, P. P. Niiler, L. Y. Oey, F. B. Schwing, R. K. Shearman and M. S. Swenson, 1999. Observing and modeling the California Current System: Purposes, achievements and aspirations. Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 80(45), 533–539. PDF


Allen, J.S., J.A. Barth and P.A. Newberger, 1990. On intermediate models for barotropic continental shelf and slope flow fields: Part III. Comparison of numerical model solutions in periodic channels. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 20, 1949–1973.<1044:OIMFBC>2.0.CO;2 

Barth, J.A., J.S. Allen and P.A. Newberger, 1990. On intermediate models for barotropic continental shelf and slope flow fields: Part II. Comparison of numerical model solutions in doubly-periodic domains. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 20, 1044–1076.<1044:OIMFBC>2.0.CO;2 


Allen, J.S., J.A. Barth and P.A. Newberger, 1990. On intermediate models for barotropic continental shelf and slope flow fields: Part I. Formulation and comparison of exact solutions. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 20, 1017–1042.<1044:OIMFBC>2.0.CO;2 


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