The Center for the Integrated Modeling and Analysis of the Gulf Ecosystem

A tale of two Gulf spills: A research consortium of 19 institutions from 5 countries studying the impacts of oil spills on the Gulf of Mexico.

Shelf break exchange events near the De Soto Canyon

  • Monday, 25 January 2016

Observations of currents, temperature, sea-surface height, sea-surface temperature and ocean color, derived from moorings, surface and deep drifters, hydrographic surveys, and satellites, are used to characterize shelf-slope exchange events near the apex of the De Soto Canyon in the northeast Gulf of Mexico. During the winter of 2012–2013, shelf-break time series showed a number of events where cold shelf water extruded over the slope. These events were largely consistent with slope eddies of both signs influencing shelf break currents. Larger-scale circulations, derived from the Loop Current and a separating Loop Current eddy, strongly influenced circulation over the De Soto slope during summer 2012, with flow patterns consistent with potential vorticity conservation over shoaling topography. Statistical investigation into shelf-slope exchange using large numbers of surface drifters indicated that export from the shelf is larger than vice-versa, and is more uniformly distributed along the shelf break. Import onto the shelf appears to favor a region just east of the Mississippi Delta, which is also consistent with the observed onshore transport of surface oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Ref: Hamilton, P., K. Speer, R. Snyder, and R.R. Leben.  2015. Shelf Break Events in the De Soto Canyon.  Continental Shelf Research. 110: 25-38., doi:10.1016/j.csr.2015.09.021

  • Last modified on Monday, 25 January 2016

Podcasts from The Loop

The Loop is a series of podcasts which take an in depth look at C-IMAGE research. Partnering with Mind Open Media reporters Ari Daniel Shapiro and David Levin, our researchers share the importance of their studies and how they help our understanding of oil spills. David and Ari have produced eight podcasts and have more in the queue. The podcasts are linked below. Plug in and learn about our research!

Listen to More Podcasts!