Temporal variability of oceanic mesoscale events in the gulf of california

Edgardo Basilio Farach-Espinoza, Juana López-Martínez, Ricardo García-Morales, Manuel Otilio Nevárez-Martínez, Daniel Bernardo Lluch-Cota, Sofia Ortega-García

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oceanic mesoscale events such as eddies, coastal upwelling, filaments and fronts created by water mass intrusion present properties allowing them to concentrate, transport and disperse salt, nutrients and plankton, among other important constituents in the ocean. The use of satellite images enables the continuous monitoring of the ocean dynamics at different temporal and spatial scales, aiding the study of its variability. This study focuses on the identification of these mesoscale events in the Gulf of California (GC) by means of sea surface temperature (SST) and chlorophyll a (Chl a) fronts (edge) detection by processing 5-day satellite images from the 1998–2019 period. The annual occurrence or frequency and duration of each event was identified; the interannual variability was evaluated and underlying correlations with the Multivariate El Niño Index (MEI) and the Pacific Decadal Index (PDOI) were assessed via Principal Component Analysis. Most events showed a seasonal variability due to the seasonal behavior of forcing agents (i.e., Pacific Ocean and winds) that stimulate their formation or presence in the GC; seasonality was more evident in the northern region than in the southern region. The interannual variability of their frequency or duration was associated with strong and intense El Niño and La Niña conditions (positive or negative MEI values) together with positive or negative phases of the PDOI. The use of SST and Chl a satellite images with a 5-day temporal resolution allowed to better identify and quantify the annual frequency and duration of each mesoscale event. It allowed to detect a seasonal behavior of these events in the northern region, followed by the central region. The southern region, due to the interaction of different water masses with unique characteristics, exhibited a less evident seasonality in the frequency of eddies, and no apparent association between their interannual frequency and duration with the MEI and PDOI. Constantly monitoring these oceanic events and their variability will help in the understanding of how the different regions of this large marine ecosystem respond to these variations in the long term.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1774
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 May 2021


  • Gulf of California
  • MEI
  • Mesoscale events
  • PDOI
  • Satellite images
  • Temporal variability


Dive into the research topics of 'Temporal variability of oceanic mesoscale events in the gulf of california'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this