Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA Satellite Finds Something Fishy About Santa Ana Winds

Date:
March 15, 2004
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
Southern California's legendary Santa Ana winds wreak havoc every year, creating hot, dry conditions and fire hazards. Despite their often-destructive nature, a study of the "Devil Winds," conducted using data from NASA's Quick Scatterometer (Quikscat) spacecraft and its SeaWinds instrument shows the winds have some positive benefits.

This image from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer taken Feb. 10, 2003, shows sea surface temperatures 4 degrees Celsius (7 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than usual at the time of the Santa Ana winds study.
Credit: Image : NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Southern California's legendary Santa Ana winds wreak havoc every year, creating hot, dry conditions and fire hazards. Despite their often-destructive nature, a study of the "Devil Winds," conducted using data from NASA's Quick Scatterometer (Quikscat) spacecraft and its SeaWinds instrument shows the winds have some positive benefits.

"These strong winds, which blow from the land out into the ocean, cause cold water to rise from the bottom of the ocean to the top, bringing with it many nutrients that ultimately benefit local fisheries," said Dr. Timothy Liu, a senior research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and Quikscat project scientist. Santa Ana consequences include vortices of cold water and high concentrations of chlorophyll 400 to 1,000 kilometers (248 to 621 miles) offshore.

Liu and Dr. Hua Hu of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, in a paper published last year in Geophysical Research Letters, revealed satellite observations of the Santa Ana effects on the ocean during three windy days in February 2003. According to the findings, Quikscat was able to identify the fine features of the coastal Santa Ana wind jets. It identified location, strength and extent, which other weather prediction products lack the resolution to consistently show, and moored ocean buoys lack sufficient coverage to fully represent.

Quikscat's high-resolution images of air-sea interaction were used to measure wind forces on the ocean. Other satellites and instruments, like the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) and the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer, onboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration polar orbiting weather satellite, were used to measure the temperature and biological production of the ocean surface, which respond to the wind.

The latter instrument showed sea surface temperatures dropped four degrees Celsius (seven degrees Fahrenheit) during the February 2003 Santa Anas. That was a sign that upwelling had occurred, meaning, deep cold water moved up to the ocean surface bringing nutrients. Images from SeaWiFS confirmed the increased biological productivity by measuring chlorophyll concentrations in the surface water. It went from negligible, in the absence of winds, to very active biological activity (more than 1.5 milligrams per cubic meter) in the presence of the winds.

"There really is no other system that can monitor Santa Ana winds over the entire oceanic region," Liu said. "Scatterometers such as Quikscat have a large enough field of view and high enough resolution to easily identify the details of coastal winds, which can affect the transportation, ecology and economy of Southern California."

High pressure develops inland when cold air is trapped over the mountains, driving the dry, hot and dusty Santa Anas (also called Santanas and Devil's Breath) at high speeds toward the coast. The winds, occurring in fall, winter and spring, can reach 113 kilometers (70 miles) per hour. They happen at any time of day and usually reach peak strength in December. Telltale signs on the coast include good visibility inland, unusually low humidity and an approaching dark brown dust cloud.

The Quikscat satellite, launched in June 1999, operates in a Sun- synchronous, 800-kilometer (497-mile) near-polar orbit. It circles Earth every 100 minutes and takes approximately 400,000 daily measurements over 93 percent of the planet's surface. It passes over Southern California about twice a day, skipping a day every three or four days.

Quikscat is part of an integrated Earth observation system managed by NASA's Office of Earth Science. The NASA enterprise is dedicated to understanding the Earth as an integrated system and applying Earth System Science to improve prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards using the unique vantage point of space.

For information about NASA programs on the Internet, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov.

For information about Quikscat and SeaWinds on the Internet, visit:

http://winds.jpl.nasa.gov.

JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA Satellite Finds Something Fishy About Santa Ana Winds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 March 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040315073033.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2004, March 15). NASA Satellite Finds Something Fishy About Santa Ana Winds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040315073033.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA Satellite Finds Something Fishy About Santa Ana Winds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040315073033.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Powerful Hurricane Gonzalo Heads to Bermuda

Raw: Powerful Hurricane Gonzalo Heads to Bermuda

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) Hurricane Gonzalo pounded Bermuda with wind and heavy surf on Friday, bearing down on the tiny British territory as a powerful Category 3 storm that could raise coastal seas as much as 10 feet. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Researchers believe an extinct kangaroo species weighed 500 pounds or more and couldn't hop. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Gonzalo Is A Category 4 And Heading To Bermuda

Hurricane Gonzalo Is A Category 4 And Heading To Bermuda

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Powerful hurricane could hit Bermuda this weekend, and even if it misses it will likely do some damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Largest Volcano In Centuries Is Spewing Toxic Gas

The Largest Volcano In Centuries Is Spewing Toxic Gas

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) One of the largest volcanic eruptions in centuries is occurring on Iceland. The volcano Bardarbunga is producing high levels of sulfur dioxide. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins