Synoptic Ocean Prediction Experiment
The Synoptic Ocean Prediction Experiment (SYNOP) was a major
observational and modeling program designed to understand the physics
governing large amplitude meandering of the Gulf Stream and the
shedding and interactions of rings east of Cape Hatteras to the Grand
Banks. The moored instrumentation program included the
small Inlet Array near Cape Hatteras, the Central Array near 68W, the
East Array near 55W, and the 50W Array. Observations in the different
arrays were made between 1987 and 1990 with some overlapping periods
The URI, UNC and UM groups maintained the Inlet and Central Arrays. The
Inlet Array, consisting of 9 inverted echo sounders (IESs) and 5 deep
current meters, was designed to monitor the inflow conditions as the
Gulf Stream leaves the continental margin. These instruments were in
place from October 1987 to September 1990. The Central Array had two
different deployment configurations, but the largest and longest
configuration consisted of 24 IESs, 12 of which included bottom
pressure gauges. The Central Array also included 12 tall current meter
moorings, each with four levels (400, 700, 1000, and 3500 m)
instrumented. Three of the moorings had upward-looking acoustic doppler
current profilers with pressure and temperature sensors mounted above
the topmost current meter. This configuration remained in place from
May 1988 to August 1990.
One of the most
interesting findings of this experiment was the presence of strong deep
cyclones and anitcyclones beneath the Gulf Stream. The spin-up of the
deep flow field occurred during the passage of steep meander crests and
troughs of the Gulf Stream. The velocities at 3500 m depth often were
as high as 35-40 cm/s during these strong events. While strong
velocities had previously been observed under the Gulf Stream, the
association of these strong velocities with an organized deep flow
field was not understood prior to the SYNOP observations. Click on the
image for details and animations of several events.
John. M. Bane, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
William E. Johns, University of Miami
Thomas J. Shay, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
D. Randolph Watts, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett
Presently at Space Science and Engineering Center, University of
URI Graduate Students
Meghan Cronin, PhD 1993; presently at PMEL/NOAA
Yuguang He, MS 1993
Stephan D. Howden, PhD 1996; presently at Univerity of
Hyun-Sook Kim, MS 1991, PhD 1994; presently at UMASS
This material is based upon work supported by the National
Science Foundation under Grant # OCE87-17144 and by the Office
of Naval Research under Contracts N00014-87K-0235,
N00014-90J-1568, and N00014-90J-1548.
Link to the Virtual Poster:
Strong Abyssal Eddies Coupled to the Meandering Gulf Stream.
- Cronin, M.
Eddy-mean flow interaction in the Gulf Stream at 68W. Part II: Eddy
forcing on the time-mean flow.
J. Phys. Oceanogr., 26:2132–2151, 1996.
M., and D. R. Watts.
Eddy-mean flow interaction in the Gulf Stream at 68W. Part I: Eddy
J. Phys.eOceanogr., 26:2107–2131, 1996.
- Cronin, M.,
K. L. Tracey, and D. R. Watts.
Mooring motion correction of SYNOP central array current meter data.
GSO Technical Report 92-4, University of Rhode Island, 1992.
115 pp. (PDF)
- Fields, E.,
and D. R. Watts.
The SYNOP experiment: Inverted echo sounder data report for June 1989 to
GSO Technical Report 91-2, University of Rhode Island, 1991.
- Fields, E.,
and D. R. Watts.
The SYNOP experiment: Inverted echo sounder data report for May 1988 to
GSO Technical Report 90-2, University of Rhode Island, 1990.
- He, Y., D. R. Watts, and
K. L. Tracey.
Determining geostrophic velocity shear profiles with inverted echo sounders.J. Geophys.eRes., 103(C3):5607–5622, 1998.
S. D., and D. R. Watts.
Jet streaks in the Gulf Stream.
J. Phys. Oceanogr., 29:1910–1924, 1999.
- Howden, S. D.
The three dimensional secondary circulation in developing Gulf Stream
J. Phys. Oceanogr., 30:888–915, 2000.
- Johns, W. E.,
T. J. Shay, J. M. Bane, and D. R. Watts.
Gulf Stream structure, transport, and recirculation near 65W.
J. Geophys. Res., 100(C1):817–838, 1995.
- Kim, H.-S., and
D. R. Watts.
An observational streamfunction in the Gulf Stream.
J. Phys. Oceanogr., 24:2639–2657, 1994.
- Lindstrom, S. S., and D. R. Watts.
Vertical motion in the Gulf Stream near 68W.
J. Phys. Oceanogr., 24:2321–2333, 1994.
S. S., X. Qian, and D. R. Watts.
Vertical motion in the Gulf Stream and its relation to meanders.
J. Geophys.eRes., 102(C4):8485–8503, 1997.
- Qian, X., and
D. R. Watts.
The SYNOP experiment: Bottom pressure maps from the central array May 1988
to August 1990.
GSO Technical Report 92-3, University of Rhode Island, 1992.
- Qian, X., K. Tracey,
E. Fields, and D. R. Watts.
The SYNOP experiment: Inverted echo sounder data report for October 1987 to
GSO Technical Report 90-3, University of Rhode Island, 1990.
J.-H., and D. R. Watts.
Near 5-day nonisostatic response of the Atlantic Ocean to atmospheric
surface pressure deduced from sub-surface and bottom pressure measurements.
Geophys. Res. Lett., 33(L12610), 2006.
D. K., and J. M. Bane.
Cyclogenesis in the deep ocean beneath the Gulf Stream: 1. Description.
J. Geophys. Res., 104(C8):18,111–18,126, 1999.
- Savidge, D. K., and J. M. Bane.
Cyclogenesis in the deep ocean beneath the Gulf Stream: 2. Dynamics.
J. Geophys.eRes., 104(C8):18,127–18,140, 1999.
- Shay, T. J., J. M.
Bane, D. R. Watts, and K. L. Tracey.
Gulf Stream flow field and events near 68W.
J. Geophys. Res., 100(C11):22,565–22,589, 1995.
- Watts, D. R.,
K. L. Tracey, J. M. Bane, and T. J. Shay.
Gulf Stream path and thermocline structure near 74W and 68W.
J. Geophys. Res., 100(C9):18,291–18,312, 1995.
D. R., X. Qian, and K. L. Tracey.
Mapping abyssal current and pressure fields under the meandering Gulf
J. Atmos.eOceanic Technol., 18:1052–1067, 2001.
Disclaimer: Any opinions, findings
and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those
of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the
National Science Foundation (NSF).
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Last Updated: June 25, 2018