gulf of mexico, loop current intrusion, self-organizing maps
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
The Gulf of Mexico Loop Current generally intrudes some distance into the Gulf of Mexico before shedding an anticyclonic eddy and retreating back to its more direct entry to exit pathway. The control of this aperiodic process remains only partially known. Here we describe the evolution of the Loop Current throughout the era of satellite altimetry, and offer a mechanistic hypothesis on Loop Current intrusion. As a complement to the known effects of Loop Current forcing on the west Florida shelf circulation, we argue that the west Florida shelf, in turn, impacts the Loop Current evolution. A Self-Organizing Map analysis shows that anomalous northward penetrations of the Loop Current into the Gulf of Mexico occur when the eastern side of Loop Current is positioned west from the southwest corner of the west Florida shelf, whereas the more direct inflow to outflow route occurs when the eastern side of the Loop Current comes in contact with the southwest corner of the west Florida shelf. In essence, we argue that the west Florida shelf anchors the Loop Current in its direct path configuration and that farther northward penetration into the Gulf of Mexico occurs when such anchoring is released. To test of this hypothesis heuristically, we estimate that the dissipation and buoyancy work due to known Loop Current forcing of the west Florida shelf circulation (when in contact with the southwest corner) may exceed the pressure work required for the Loop Current to advance against the ambient Gulf of Mexico fluid.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, v. 122, issue 12, p. 9679-9694
© 2017. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Scholar Commons Citation
Weisberg, Robert H. and Liu, Yonggang, "On the Loop Current Penetration into the Gulf of Mexico" (2017). Marine Science Faculty Publications. 407.