Atmospheric forcing of cool subsurface water events in Bahía Culebra, Gulf of Papagayo, Costa Rica
Bahía Culebra, at Gulf of Papagayo on the north Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is an area of seasonal upwelling where more intense cooling events may occur during some boreal winter weeks mainly. To study these extreme cool events, records of nine sea subsurface temperature stations from 1998 to 2010 were analyzed. Five events associated with extremely cool temperatures in this region were identified from these records and taken as study cases. Sea temperatures decreased about 8-9ºC during these events and occurred while cold fronts were present in the Caribbean, with strong trade wind conditions over Central America. These strong wind conditions may have favored the offshore displacement of the sea surface water. The axis of Bahía Culebra runs northeastsouthwest, a condition that favors and triggers cool water events, mainly because the displaced water is replaced by water from deeper levels.
Keywords: bahía culebra, gulf of papagayo, Costa Rica, sea subsurface temperature, upwelling, cold frontsoutbreaks, Central America