Dynamics of Ocean
Currents and Fronts
Dynamics of the Loop Current in U.S. Waters
An observational and modeling study of the dynamics of the Loop Current (LC) in U.S. Waters, has been undertaken by a team of investigators from the University of Rhode Island (URI), the University of Colorado, Princeton University and ScienceApplications International Corporation (SAIC) with funding from the Department of Interior, Minerals Management Service (MMS). The overarching goal of this study is to increase knowledge of the dynamics of the LC in the eastern Gulf of Mexico through a combined analysis of observations and numerical modeling. The project site is located in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The study area consists of the region in the eastern Gulf of Mexico in U.S. Waters north of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), as far north as 27°N, east of 89°W, and seaward of the 200 m isobath off the west coast of Florida. The project area is centered near 26°N, 86.5°W and includes the internationally disputed area known as the ``doughnut hole" which is comprised of the area beyond 200 nautical miles from the coasts of Mexico, Cuba and the U.S.
The main element of the observational program is an array of current meter moorings and pressure senor equipped inverted echo sounders (PIES) that will be used to monitor the spatial and temporal variability of currents, temperture and salinity over a major part of the LC as it passes through U.S. Waters. Field work for this study will occur in three phases: the initial deployment cruise (April-May 2009), a 15-month telemetry/rotation cruise (June 2010) and a recovery cruise (September 2011).
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