Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems (EBUS) (California, Humboldt, Benguela and Canary Current System as major systems and, e.g., Iberian, Leeuwin and West Coast of India as minor ones) are characterized by complex dynamical processes spanning a wide range of spatio-temporal variability due to the strong coupling between the ocean and atmosphere. They are among the most productive marine ecosystems in the world, supporting some of the world’s major fisheries, yet occupying only 0.1% of the global surface. Trade winds flowing equatorward produce coastal upwelling, which uplifts cold and nutrient-rich waters to the surface, where favorable light conditions sustain high phytoplankton growth. Below the surface, intense Oxygen Minimum Zones develop due to high organic matter export, in conjunction with a sluggish ventilation. When these waters upwell, they release CO2 and N2O, potent greenhouse gases, to the atmosphere. Locally, the mesoscale low-level atmospheric circulation is affected by air-sea-land interactions, which impact the upwelling and productivity, while remote forcing can modulate upwelling at timescales from intraseasonal to interdecadal and longer. EBUS are natural laboratories for studying the breadth of interactive processes between land, ocean and atmosphere at the regional scale. This SCOR Working Group 155 ‘Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems (EBUS): Diversity, Coupled Dynamics and Sensitivity to Climate Change’ is focused on reviewing the existing knowledge on EBUS and formulate a strategic recommendation white paper for setting up regional observational systems and climate modeling approaches to monitor and understand physical and biogeochemical ocean-atmosphere processes. These observational systems will be instrumental in improving the performance and reliability of climate models in these socio-economically relevant regions of the world ocean.


Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR)

National Science Foundation

North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES)