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Fall–Winter Current Reversals on the Texas–Louisiana Continental Shelf

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  • 1 Naval Ocean–Atmospheric Prediction Laboratory, Department of Oceanography, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California
  • | 2 Naval Ocean–Atmospheric Prediction Laboratory, Department of Oceanography, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, and Marine Hydrophysical Institute, Sevastopol, Ukraine
  • | 3 Marine Hydrophysical Institute, Sevastopol, Ukraine
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Abstract

Fall–winter recurrence of current reversal from westward to eastward is identified on the Texas–Louisiana continental shelf using the current-meter [Texas–Louisiana Shelf Physical Oceanography Program (LATEX-A)] and near-surface drifting buoy [Surface Current and Lagrangian Drift Program (SCULP-1)] observations in 1993 and 1994. Reversal events roughly satisfy the Poisson distribution with one current reversal nearly every 12 days. Synoptic winds seem responsible for the current reversal events. Other processes such as offshore eddies shed from the Loop Current and river runoff are less important to change alongshore flow direction at synoptic scales. A statistical model is established to predict the synoptic current reversal using the surface wind observations.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Peter C. Chu, Department of Oceanography, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA 93943. Email: chu@nps.navy.mil

Abstract

Fall–winter recurrence of current reversal from westward to eastward is identified on the Texas–Louisiana continental shelf using the current-meter [Texas–Louisiana Shelf Physical Oceanography Program (LATEX-A)] and near-surface drifting buoy [Surface Current and Lagrangian Drift Program (SCULP-1)] observations in 1993 and 1994. Reversal events roughly satisfy the Poisson distribution with one current reversal nearly every 12 days. Synoptic winds seem responsible for the current reversal events. Other processes such as offshore eddies shed from the Loop Current and river runoff are less important to change alongshore flow direction at synoptic scales. A statistical model is established to predict the synoptic current reversal using the surface wind observations.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Peter C. Chu, Department of Oceanography, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA 93943. Email: chu@nps.navy.mil

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