DART Pacific Ocean Daily Coastal Upwelling Index

DART Queries are Temporarily Unavailable

Performing backups, up by 03:15 US/Pacific.

Message Time: October 24 2017 00:55:01.

Data Courtesy of NMFS, Pacific Fisheries Environmental Laboratory

Upwelling Queries

Select Output Format


Select Year, Location

All location names are approximate geographic reference points to the Lat/Lon coordinates of the PFEL locations.


Set Date Range

Select Date Range Type 

Start Year
End Year

Displayed year values are determined by selections for: Year and Date Range Type.


Query Notes

  1. For Winter runs, select Year for the start year, select "Span Calendar Years" for Date Range Type, and enter Start Date and End Date for Date Range. Date Range years are determined by selections for Year and Date Range Type.
  2. To generate the Data Link for querying results directly from scripts and automated processes: make all selections, check "Generate Query Result Link Only" next to the Submit button, and click Submit.

Notes on the DART Pacific Ocean Coastal Upwelling Index Dataset

All location names are approximate geographic reference points to the Lat/Lon coordinates of the PFEL locations.

Environmental Research Division Live Access Server webpage provides access to the daily updated 6-hourly data, in user-specified graphical or data forms (select: Environmental Data Server New Version -> ERD Derived Environmental Indices -> Upwelling Index, 15 NA Locations).

How Pacific Fisheries Environmental Laboratory (PFEL) Determines the Upwelling Indices (text from: How PFEL Determines the Upwelling Indices web page)

On a monthly basis, the PFEL generates indices of the intensity of large-scale, wind-induced coastal upwelling at 15 standard locations along the west coast of North America. The indices are based on estimates of offshore Ekman transport driven by geostrophic wind stress. Geostrophic winds are derived from six-hourly synoptic and monthly mean surface atmospheric pressure fields. The pressure fields are provided by the U.S. Navy Fleet Numerical Meteorological and Oceanographic Center (FNMOC), Monterey, CA. The idea behind the upwelling indices was to develop simple time series that represent variations in coastal upwelling. Daily and monthly index time series are provided regularly to scientists and managers concerned with marine ecosystems and their biota, and have been used in scores of studies and scientific publications.

PFEL coastal upwelling indices are calculated based upon Ekman's theory of mass transport due to wind stress. Assuming homogeneity, uniform wind and steady state conditions, the mass transport of the surface water due to wind stress is 90° to the right of the wind direction in the Northern Hemisphere. Ekman mass transport is defined as the wind stress divided by the Coriolis parameter (a function of the earth's rotation and latitude). The depth to which an appreciable amount of this offshore transport occurs is termed the surface Ekman layer, and is generally 50 to 100 meters deep.

Ekman transports are resolved into components parallel and normal to the local coastline orientation. The magnitude of the offshore component is considered to be an index of the amount of water upwelled from the base of the Ekman layer. Positive values are, in general, the result of equatorward wind stress. Negative values imply downwelling, the onshore advection of surface waters accompanied by a downward displacement of water.

Historically, the indices were computed from monthly mean pressure fields prepared by FNMOC on a 3° mesh grid. After providing PFEL with several alternate pressure field grids over time, FNMOC currently produces six-hourly fields of surface pressure on a global spherical 1° mesh (a 180 x 360 grid). The standard west coast six-hourly upwelling indices are a product of the 3° pressure field interpolated from the 1° grid. Monthly indices are derived from a 3° mesh that is interpolated from the monthly-averages of the six-hourly 1° pressures.