Bay of Campeche Circulation: An Update Chapter uri icon


  • 2005 by the American Geophysical Union. We address four independent sources of observational evidence pertaining to circulation in the Bay of Campeche (BOC), located south of 23N in the western Gulf of Mexico, with the objective of characterizing its mean circulation, its variability, and the probable forcing thereof. The observational information includes historic hydrographic and dissolved oxygen data, Lagrangian current data, satellite-derived sea surface height anomaly (SSHA), and special observations of marine winds in the BOC. The hydrographic data reveals that the mean surface circulation relative to 425 db and to 800 db includes a weak cyclone with cyclic transport of about 4 x l06 m3 s-1. Ten years of near-surface drifter observations shows a statistically meaningful mean cyclonic pattern of current with westward intensification that is consistent with the mean surface dynamic topography relative to 800 db. Observations of mean currents in the BOC at 900 m based on deep floats by G. L. Weatherly and others allows estimation of the current shear from the Lagrangian data and this is geostrophically consistent with that from the dynamic topography relative to 800 m. The mean cyclonic wind stress curl field deduced from two sources of marine wind data indicate a forced Sverdrup transport consistent with that observed. Moreover a seasonal cycle is suggested in the near surface drifter data that is coherent with the seasonal signal in the wind stress curl. Finally, the historic SSHA for a period of over 8 years in the 1990s allows a characterization of the dominant empirical spatial patterns and their temporal variability.

author list (cited authors)

  • Vzquez De La Cerda, A. M., Reid, R. O., DiMarco, S. F., & Jochens, A. E.

citation count

  • 27

complete list of authors

  • Vázquez De La Cerda, AM||Reid, RO||DiMarco, SF||Jochens, AE

Book Title

  • Circulation in the Gulf of Mexico: Observations and Models

publication date

  • January 2005