A Statistical Description of the Velocity Fields from Upper Ocean Drifters in the Gulf of Mexico Chapter uri icon


  • 2005 by the American Geophysical Union. We analyzed 1397 drifter records collected in the Gulf of Mexico and northwestern Cayman Basin between the years 1989 and 1999 to describe the general features of the upper ocean circulation. These drifters were generally drogued at 50 m below the surface and exclude those of the Surface Current Lagrangian Program (SCULP). In addition to the dominant flows through the Yucatan Channel and Straits of Florida, robust circulation features clearly seen include: a weak cyclone south of 21N in the Bay of Campeche, westward zonal flow across the Gulf between 21N and 24N, a northward western boundary current between 95W and 97W and 24N and 26N, mean downcoast (westward) flow on the Texas-Louisiana shelf, highly variable mean flow on the shelves and slope of the northeastern Gulf, mean upcoast (southward) flow on the lower West Florida Shelf, and a large region of high variability in the deep regions of the central Gulf of Mexico. Although much of the driving of the Gulf of Mexico is attributed to currents associated with the Loop Current and its associated Loop Current Eddies (particularly in the deep waters), other features can be directly correlated with seasonal wind driving, particularly on the shelves of the northern Gulf, near the western boundary, and in the Bay of Campeche.

author list (cited authors)

  • DiMarco, S. F., Nowlin, W. D., & Reid, R. O.

citation count

  • 49

complete list of authors

  • DiMarco, Steven F||Nowlin, Worth D||Reid, RO

Book Title

  • Circulation in the Gulf of Mexico: Observations and Models

publication date

  • January 2005