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Ocean Currents of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Robert H. Weisberg Professor, Physical Oceanography College of Marine Scien

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Ocean Currents of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Robert H. Weisberg Professor, Physical Oceanography College of Marine Science University of South Florida St. Petersburg, FL 33701 http://ocgweb.marine.usf.edu http://comps.marine.usf.edu http://www.seacoos.org http://efsis.rsmas.miami.edu

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slide1

Ocean Currents of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico

Robert H. Weisberg

Professor, Physical Oceanography

College of Marine Science

University of South Florida

St. Petersburg, FL 33701

http://ocgweb.marine.usf.edu

http://comps.marine.usf.edu

http://www.seacoos.org

http://efsis.rsmas.miami.edu

4/3/06

slide2

Physical Oceanography

  • The study of the ocean circulation, how the water moves and how the ocean and atmosphere interact.
  • Large-scale, Deep-Ocean Circulation
  • The Gulf of Mexico Loop Current, Florida Current, Gulf Stream system.
  • West Florida Continental Shelf Circulation
  • The local, shallow water circulation driven by winds and surface heating/cooling.
slide4

Methods

Analyses from satellite data

Simulations using models

Direct observations

slide5

Sea surface currents (arrows) superimposed on sea surface height (with red indicating high and blue low).

The height is obtained by satellite altimetry, and the currents are calculated using the geostrophic approximation, wherein the currents tend to flow along lines of constant pressure (height).

slide7

Particle Trajectories for Multiple Launch Sites Superimposed on a Sea Surface Temperature Analysis

A one week hindcast and a one week forecast are updated weekly, in this case for 1/11-1/25/06 and calculated on 1/18/06. We use geostrophic currents analyzed from SSH integrated in time and apace.

slide8

Particle Trajectories for Multiple Launch Sites Superimposed on a Sea Surface Temperature Analysis

A one week hindcast and a one week forecast are updated weekly, in this case for 2/15-3/1/06 and calculated on 2/22/06. We use geostrophic currents analyzed from SSH integrated in time and apace.

slide9

Model simulation of the eastern GofM circulation driven by both the LC/FC/GS system and local winds and heat flux. Shown are surface V superimposed on SST.

slide10

Nowcast/Forecast Model

Updated daily, we run a one day hindcast followed by a 3.5 day forecast. Results at different levels may be retrieved and plotted interactively.

http://ocgweb.marine.usf.edu

slide11

WFS In-situ Observations

http://comps.marine.usf.edu

http://ocgweb.marine.usf.edu

slide12

Seasonal Circulation Patterns on the WFS

“Climatological (3-yr) currents” superimposed on climatological (5-yr) SST reveals upwelling in fall through spring and downwelling in summer.

slide13

The WFS currents are fully three-dimensional:

Particle trajectories at the surface are much different from those near the bottom.

slide14

Cold, nutrient-rich water

upwells onto the shelf by the

combined effects of local

and LC forcing.

18º

(A)

Bottom Ekman layer currents

transport these waters

to the coast.

(B)

slide15

Summary

  • 1. The eastern G of M deep-ocean circulation consists of the LC/FC/GS system, which is always present. Materials entrained in the LC can quickly flow through the Florida Straits with proximity to the Florida Keys and the east coast.
  • 2. The West Florida Shelf circulation is driven mainly by winds and surface heating. The currents vary seasonally and are fully three-dimensional, with the near bottom circulation accounting for the across shelf transport of nutrients from the deep-ocean.
  • 3. An understanding the shelf ecology must begin with an understanding on how the currents distribute water properties (nutrients, fish larvae, pollutants, etc.).
  • 4. Given the shelf width and the nature of the currents, arbitrary distances from land are not in themselves sufficient indicators of environmental safety.