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Ocean Circulation in the CINMS

Ocean processes play a significant role in the marine Sanctuary. In fact, it is the unique circulation patterns of the Santa Barbara Channel (SBC) that make the presence of a diverse array of species in the CINMS possible. Observations suggest that "currents in the channel are a superposition of a larger-than-SBC scale flow and a cyclonic circulation which is specific to the channel interior" (Harms and Winant, 1998). These currents have spatial and temporal trends that constitute several characteristic current patterns in the Santa Barbara Channel. During the spring months, surface currents tend to flow equatorward; it reverses from summer to winter. Additionally, these trends can be reversed for short periods of time, on the order of several days. For the most part, the SBC circulation is dominated by an inflow of cold nutrient rich waters upwelling off the Pt. Conception coast and entering the western end of the channel. This leads to a cold water mass occupying the western half of the channel. Similarly, warm water coming from the

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