CS16 Harmful Algal Blooms
Date: Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Time: 3:00:00 PM
Location: Sidney
 
GallegosSC, Naval Research Laboratory , Stennis Space Center, USA, gallegos@nrlssc.navy.mil
Chen, X, , Sverdrup Technology, Stennis Space Center, USA, chen@nrlssc.navy.mil
 
THE ROLE OF THE LOOP CURRENT AND EDDIES IN THE INITIATION OF RED TIDE BLOOMS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO
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The appearance of the red tide blooms in the Gulf of Mexico has been associated with various environmental parameters such a bottom temperature, proximity to the thermocline, winds, and sea surface temperatures. In this investigation, we demonstrate that fluctuations in the geographical locations of the Loop Current (LC) and associated eddies are also strong indicators of red tide occurrences in both the eastern and western Gulf of Mexico. For this work, we examined 2,392 data sets of Regional Frontal Analysis (AVHRR), and Blended T/P and ERS-2 SSH anomaly minus model mean from 1993 to 2000. We quantified the spatio-temporal fluctuations of the LC, the movement of eddies with respect to the LC and continental shelf, determined their proximity to the coast, and compared the behavior of LC and eddies during years in which red tides were reported and years in which there was an absence of red tides. The results indicate that a red tide is likely to occur when the LC shows strong eddy shedding activity in previous years, the axis of the current points in the direction of impact, and there is extensive intrusion of the eddies on the continental shelf.