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Northern Gulf of Mexico Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (NGoM-HYCOM)

Comparison with observations


In collaboration with Nan D. Walker (Dept. of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana ), chlorophyll a satellite images from the Indian Oceansat-1 Ocean Color Monitor (OCM) are used to make qualitative comparisons between observed and modeled events of interaction between the Loop Current and the Mississippi River plume. These chlorophyll a estimates are effective for tracking the motion of near-surface, nutrient-rich river waters in the northern Gulf of Mexico.


Comparison with observations



(A): Snapshot of model surface salinity and sea surface height + surface velocity vectors on May 28th, 2005,  when the Loop Current System (LC) interacted with the Mississippi River plume. (B) Oceansat-1 OCM chlorophyll a images on the same day. The chlorophyll a scale ranges from 0 to 3 mg m-3. River water is depicted in red/brown tones near the mouth of rivers, where pigment concentrations are highest and orange/yellow tones in deep water, where pigment concentrations are reduced.

The satellite image demonstrate the remarkable impact of the LC system over the transport of the MR plume. A distinct chlorophyll a band extending into the GoM, which agrees with the LC conditions during this period. The model surface salinity on the same day shows the presence of the low-salinity band just to the east of the delta, in agreement with the position of the chlorophyll a band across the shelfbreak. The satisfactory comparison reinforces the necessity to employ a modeling approach that uses lateral boundary conditions from a realistic, data-assimilative ocean model, in order to capture strong interactions between the MR plume and the Loop Current.


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