Upwelling of the oceans is a phenomena with many impacts, not the least of which is the ease with which fisherman can catch fish. This is as the cause of the upwelling phenomena is great winds, and these force the cooler and nutrient rich water from deeper ocean to come to the surface. At least three oceanographic or geographic situations can cause this strong upwelling of the oceans, and these include strong tidal currents, wind pushing away surface water which is replaced by subsurface water and weather patterns. Six major areas of strong upwelling include the Humbolt Current near the Chilean coast (Escribano & Hidalgo 2000), the Arabian Sea (Prell & Curry, 1981), equatorial regions such as the Caribbean, Northwest Africa (Cropper et al, 2012), the East coast of India (Murty & Varadachari, 1968), and the Southeastern coast of the United States (Yoder et al, 1983).

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The Southern Oscillation has a great influence with regard to strong upwelling near the South American coast. The Southern Oscillation has been described as dramatic changes in the pressure of sea level between the east and the western parts of the Pacific Ocean which affects trade winds and is associated with the El Niño effect, causing anomalies that contribute to upwelling of the oceans (Wang et al., 2012). The net result is that this upwelling creates changes, both because they are associated with events that cause climate variability and also because they create sites with fresh nutrients that increase biological activity.

Areas where there is upwelling may also be associated with new methods and approaches to finding fossil fuels, as the nutrients in the upwelling provide information on where those geological plates with ancient phytoplankton that is now oil or gas (Parrish, 1982). Areas of upwelling are likely to be interesting to companies, given that they are sites where there are fish to be caught as well as the potential to explore for oil and gas.

Cropper, T. E., Hanna, E., & Bigg, G. R. (2013). Seasonal variability and trends in coastal upwelling across the Northwest African coastline, 1981-2012. AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts, 1.

  • Escribano, R., & Hidalgo, P. (2000). Spatial distribution of copepods in the north of the Humboldt Current region off Chile during coastal upwelling. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, 80(02), 283-290.
  • Murty, C. S., & Varadachari, V. V. R. (1968). Upwelling along the east coast of India. Bulletin of the National Institute of Sciences of India, 38, 80-86.
  • Parrish, J. T. (1982). Upwelling and petroleum source beds, with reference to Paleozoic. AAPG Bulletin, 66(6), 750-774.
  • Prell, W. L., & Curry, W. B. (1981). Faunal and isotopic indices of monsoonal upwelling-western Arabian sea. Oceanologica Acta, 4(1), 91-98.
  • Wang, C., Deser, C., Yu, J. Y., DiNezio, P., & Clement, A. (2012). El Nino and southern oscillation (ENSO): a review. Coral Reefs of the Eastern Pacific, 3-19. NOAA/Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.
  • Yoder, J. A., Atkinson, L. P., Bishop, S. S., Hofmann, E. E., & Lee, T. N. (1983). Effect of upwelling on phytoplankton productivity of the outer southeastern United States continental shelf. Continental Shelf Research, 1(4), 385-404.