Rosenberg Institute Fall Seminar Series


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Wednesday, November 14 |  3:30 PM  |   Bay Conference Center

Dr. Tom Connolly, Moss Landing

Poleward flow in the California Current System: Physical dynamics and biogeochemical impacts

Seasonal coastal currents in the California Current System transport water with diverse physical and biogeochemical characteristics from across the North Pacific. Currents flowing northward (or poleward, towards the pole) like the California Undercurrent carry warm and salty water from equatorial sources. This equatorial water strongly influences seasonal variations in nutrients, dissolved oxygen, and pH throughout the region. Although a great deal of past research has been devoted to characterizing this part of the ocean, the physical mechanisms that drive seasonal currents remain elusive. For example, there is no scientific consensus on why the California Undercurrent flows northward, in the opposite direction of the prevailing winds. Modern observing technology and synthesis of long-term data make it possible to address these questions in new ways. This presentation will compare patterns of seasonal variability throughout the California Current System, discuss potential forcing mechanisms, and highlight the biogeochemical impacts of water from different origins.  

Tom is a physical oceanographer who studies the dynamics and ecological impacts of circulation in the coastal zone. As an Assistant Professor at Moss Landing Marine Labs, Tom works closely with students from a wide range of disciplines who are interested in physical processes in the ocean. Tom received his Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Washington in 2012, where he studied shelf and slope circulation off the coasts of Washington and British Columbia. As a postdoctoral scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution from 2012-2015, he used a wide range of observations to study nearshore currents along the US east coast. At Moss Landing, he has continued his research in the shallow waters near the coast, while also returning to some of his favorite topics in the California Current System: seasonal currents, submarine canyons, and biogeochemical impacts of coastal upwelling.

See the full 2018 Fall Rosenberg Institute Seminar Series schedule for more talks.