Surface Temperatures and Temperature Gradient Features of the U.S. Gulf Coast Waters.
LOUISIANA STATE UNIV BATON ROUGE COASTAL STUDIES INST
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Satellite thermal infrared data on the Gulf of Mexico show that a seasonal cycle exists in the horizontal surface temperature structure. In the fall, the surface temperatures of both coastal and deep waters are nearly uniform. With the onset of winter, atmospheric cold fronts, which are accompanied by dry, low-temperature air and strong winds, draw heat from the sea. Penetrative convection and wind-driven mixing lower temperatures, first in the shallowest waters and then, as the winter season progresses, in deeper and deeper portions of the Gulf. A band of cooler water forming on the inner shelf expands, until a thermal front develops seaward along the shelf break between the cold shelf waters and the warmer deep waters of the Gulf. Digital analysis of the satellite data has been carried out in an interactive mode using a minicomputer and software developed at the Coastal Studies Institute. A time series of temperature profiles illustrates the temporal and spatial changes in the sea-surface temperature field. Author
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography