Low-Frequency Current Variability Observed at the Shelfbreak in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico: November 2004-May 2005
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB STENNIS SPACE CENTER MS
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Fourteen acoustic Doppler current profilers ADCPs were deployed on the shelf and slope for 1 year just west of the DeSoto Canyon in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico by the Naval Research Laboratory NRL as part of its Slope to Shelf Energetics and Exchange Dynamics SEED project. The winter and spring observations are discussed here in regards to the low-frequency current variability and its relation to wind and eddy forcing. Empirical orthogonal function EOF analyses showed that two modes described most of the current variability. Wind-forced variability of the along-shelf flow was the main contributor in Mode 1 while eddies contributed much of the variability in Mode 2. Wind-stress controlled currents on the shelf and slope at time scales of about a week. On longer time scales, variations in the currents on both the outer shelf and slope appear to be related to seasonal variations in the time-cumulated wind stress curl. Winds were dominant in driving the along-shelf transports, particularly along the slope. However, the effective wind stress component was found to be aligned with the west Florida shelf direction rather than the local shelf direction. Eddy intrusions, which were more numerous in winter and spring than in summer and fall, and winds were found to contribute significantly to cross-shelf exchange processes.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography
- Acoustic Detection and Detectors
- Electricity and Magnetism