Deep Eddies in the Gulf of Mexico

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Heather H Furey1, Amy S Bower1, Paula Perez-Brunius2 and Peter Hamilton3, (1)WHOI, Woods Hole, MA, United States, (2)CICESE National Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Mexico, Ensenada, Mexico, (3)Leidos Corporation (formerly SAIC), Raleigh, NC, United States
A major Lagrangian program is currently underway to map the deep (1500-2500 m) circulation of the entire Gulf of Mexico. Beginning in 2011, more than 120 acoustically tracked RAFOS floats have been released in the eastern, central and western Gulf, many in pairs and triplets. Most floats are programmed to drift for two years, obtaining position fixes and temperature/pressure measurements three times daily. More than 80 floats have completed their missions, and results from the trajectories will be described with a focus on mesoscale eddying behavior. In particular, the first-ever observations of deep energetic anticyclonic eddies (possibly lenses) forming at and separating from a northeastward-flowing boundary current west of Campeche Bank will be discussed. The existence of these eddies has major implications for exchange between the continental slope and interior Gulf. The project is being supported by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).