VOCALS-CUpEx: the Chilean Upwelling Experiment
- 1Department of Geophysics, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
- 2Center for Advanced Studies in Arid Zones (CEAZA), La Serena, Chile
- 3Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Universidad Católica del Norte, Coquimbo, Chile
- 4Department of Geophysics, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción – Chile
Abstract. The VAMOS Ocean-Cloud-Atmosphere-Land Study Regional Experiment (VOCALS-REx) was a major field experiment conducted in spring of 2008 off southern Peru and northern Chile, aimed at better understanding the coupled climate systems of the southeast Pacific. Because of logistical constrains, the coastal area around 30° S was not sampled during VOCALS-REx. This area not only marks the poleward edge of the subtropical stratocumulus cloud regime (thus acting as a source of transient disturbances) but is also one of the most active upwelling centers and source of surface ocean kinetic energy along the Chilean coast. To fill such an observational gap, a small, brief, but highly focused field experiment was conducted in late spring 2009 in the near-shore region around 30° S. The Chilean Upwelling Experiment (CUpEx) was endorsed by VOCALS as a regional component.
CUpEx included long-term monitoring, an intensive two-week field campaign and off-shore research flights. Our goal was to obtain an atmospheric/oceanic dataset with enough temporal and spatial coverage to be able to document (a) the mean diurnal cycles of the lower-troposphere and upper-ocean in a region of complex topography and coastline geometry, and (b) the ocean-atmosphere response to the rapid changes in coastal winds from strong, upwelling-favorable equatorward flow (southerly winds) to downwelling-favorable poleward flow (northerly winds). In this paper we describe the measurement platforms and sampling strategy, and provide an observational overview, highlighting some key mean-state and transient features.