TJ4.2 Applications of Surface Currents in the Northern Gulf of Mexico Monitored by High-Frequency Radar Stations of the Central Gulf of Mexico Ocean Observing System

Monday, 7 January 2013: 1:30 PM
Room 18B (Austin Convention Center)
Stephan Howden, University of Southern Mississippi, Stennis Space Center, MS; and A. Kern

Surface currents are one of the fundamental pieces of information needed for many applications in the coastal ocean. The Integrated Ocean Observing System has an implementation plan for monitoring surface currents over most of the coastal regions of the U.S. using shore-based high-frequency radar (HFR). Nationally, HFR stations are operated by a diverse set of institutions, which also collect and process the data, but the data are also sent to national servers where they are partially processed and combined providing a single-source for decision makers. In the northern Gulf of Mexico the University of Southern Mississippi has operated three HFR stations as part of the Central Gulf of Mexico Ocean Observing System (CenGOOS). Applications of the CenGOOS surface current data have included: producing back trajectories for understanding where dead sea turtles may have originated; verifying advective forcing for holding cold winter-time Mobile Bay outflow water to the coast for understanding stressors that may have contributed to Dolphin mortality events; response to the Deepwater Horizon/Macondo well oil spill; and analyzing the surface currents within and close to a tropical storm. Examples of some of these applications will be shown and discussed and some comparisons will be made with surface currents from the operational models (AMSEAS) run by the Naval Oceanographic Office and NOAA (NGOFS) in the region.
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