Ocean Circulation Lab
USF College of Marine Science

Surface Geostrophic Currents in the Gulf of Mexico

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Surface geostrophic currents are derived from the near real-time satellite altimetry product produced by AVISO (www.aviso.altimetry.fr) and served via the E.U. Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) (marine.copernicus.eu/). A mean dynamic height of mdt_cnes_cls2013 is added to the sea level anomaly data to get sea surface height (SSH). Geostrophic currents are computed from the gradient of the SSH, which approximates the actual surface currents. A quantitative assesment of the altimetry product using the drifter data observations in the estern Gulf of Mexico can be seen in Liu et al. [2014]. This product is further used in the analysis of the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current patterns [Liu et al., 2016a; Weisberg and Liu, 2017] and the West Florida Shelf offshore forcing index [Liu et al., 2016b].


  • Alvera-Azcárate, A., A. Barth, and R.H. Weisberg (2009), The surface circulation of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico as inferred from satellite altimetry, Journal of Physical Oceanography, 39, 640-657.
  • Liu, Y., R.H. Weisberg, S. Vignudelli, and G.T. Mitchum (2014), Evaluation of altimetry-derived surface current products using Lagrangian drifter trajectories in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, J. Geophys. Res., 119, 2827-2842, doi:10.1002/2013JC009710.
  • Liu, Y., R.H., Weisberg, S. Vignudelli, and G.T. Mitchum (2016a), Patterns of the Loop Current system and regions of sea surface height variability in the eastern Gulf of Mexico revealed by the Self-Organizing Maps, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 121, 2347-2366, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2015JC011493.
  • Liu, Y., R.H. Weisberg, J.M. Lenes, L. Zheng, K. Hubbard, and J.J. Walsh (2016b), Offshore forcing on the "pressure point" of the West Florida Shelf: Anomalous upwelling and its influence on harmful algal blooms, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 121, 5501-5515, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016JC011938.
  • Weisberg, R.H., and Y. Liu (2017), On the Loop Current penetration into the Gulf of Mexico, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 122, 9679-9694, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2017JC013330.
  • Nickerson, A.K., R.H. Weisberg, and Y. Liu (2022), On the evolution of the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current through its penetrative, ring shedding and retracted states, Advances in Space Research, 69(11), 4058-4077, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asr.2022.03.039


    The analyses/data are research products under development. No warranty is made, expressed or implied, regarding accuracy, or regarding the suitability for any particular application. All rights reserved University of South Florida. Copyright University of South Florida 04/30/2019.

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