Accession Number:

ADA231190

Title:

The Loop Current and Its Role in the Dynamics and Circulation of the Gulf of Mexico

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:

NAVAL OCEANOGRAPHIC AND ATMOSPHERIC RESEARCH LAB STENNIS SPACE CENTER MS

Report Date:

1990-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

1.0

Abstract:

The Gulf of Mexico is an ideal basin to study ocean dynamics since it contains many features of much larger mid-latitude domains. A major current system, the Loop Current, dominates the circulation of the basin. Large anticyclonic rings, cross-shelf exchanges, a highly energetic western boundary regime, and smaller cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies are at least in part energized by the Loop Current. The relatively small size of the Gulf and the relatively constrained inflow of the Loop Current makes the basin attractive from both a modelling and an observational perspective. Our basic understanding of the dynamics of the Gulf of Mexico, developed in the last two decades from observations and detailed numerical model studies, has shown that barotropic and baroclinic instability processes, potential vorticity conservation, and transport distributions through the Yucatan Straits are key elements in understanding the Loop Current in carrying momentum, vorticity, heat, and salt into the western Gulf. It is made clearer from modelling studies. The need to measure the deep flow in the Gulf at inflow and outflow boundaries in the Gulf at inflow and outflow boundaries is also underscored by model experiments. Requirements for better model resolution, both horizontal and vertical, improved model physics, including proper interaction between the deep Gulf and the shelf slope region, and new observational data for more extensive modeldata intercomparisons are also discussed.

Subject Categories:

  • Physical and Dynamic Oceanography

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE