Nowcasting Cross-Stream Profiles of Ocean Surface Current in the Straits of Florida

George A. Maul Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory/N0AA, Miami, Florida

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Mark Bushnell Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory/N0AA, Miami, Florida

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Stephen R. Baig National Hurricane Center, NOAA, Miami, Florida

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Abstract

Cross-stream profiles of ocean surface currents between Florida and the Bahamas are highly correlated with the cross-stream-averaged current. When the cross-stream averaged speed is high, the speed axis of the Florida Current is to the west, and when the cross-stream-averaged speed is low, the speed axis is near the center of the straits. Since sea level and weather along the Florida coast are routinely used to nowcast cross-stream-averaged speed, nowcasts of cross-stream surface current profiles and location of the speed axis can also be routinely reported. An improved algorithm using cross-stream sea level difference and local weather, and a description of the revised NOAA Gulf Stream product from the National Hurricane Center are presented.

Abstract

Cross-stream profiles of ocean surface currents between Florida and the Bahamas are highly correlated with the cross-stream-averaged current. When the cross-stream averaged speed is high, the speed axis of the Florida Current is to the west, and when the cross-stream-averaged speed is low, the speed axis is near the center of the straits. Since sea level and weather along the Florida coast are routinely used to nowcast cross-stream-averaged speed, nowcasts of cross-stream surface current profiles and location of the speed axis can also be routinely reported. An improved algorithm using cross-stream sea level difference and local weather, and a description of the revised NOAA Gulf Stream product from the National Hurricane Center are presented.

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