The products in this page were created using altimetry observations and include fields of geostrophic currents, sea height anomaly (SHA) and sea height (SH) for the Gulf of Mexico region. SHA data is obtained from a suit of different satellites.
Why are they helpful?
Maps of sea level obtained from satellite altimetry measurements are used to derive surface ocean currents (top map). Higher values of sea level (oranges and reds) are associated with the Loop Current and warm eddies, while lower values are associated to colder features. Drifter trajectories (lines in the top map) are used as an independent measurement to better illustrate circulation features. Sea height anomaly maps (center map) show the difference of sea level from average conditions, while sea height maps (bottom map) show absolute values of the sea level. Decision makers, managers, and scientists use these products to determine the flow of the surface water in the Gulf of Mexico.
Evolution of Geostrophic Currents
The map below shows the geostrophic currents field in the Gulf of Mexico. The background image represents the dynamic height. Drifter trajectories during the last 15 days are indicated by solid tracks with different colors for each drifter. The yellow squares indicates the initial position of these drifters 15 days ago.
For surface currents on previous dates:
To see an animation of the geostrophic currents field, please select one of the month below:
SHA data source: US Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE)
Evolution of Sea Height
The map below shows the sea height field in the Gulf of Mexico. The black triangle indicates the location of the Deepwater Horizon.
For SH on previous dates:
To see an animation of the SH fields, please select one of the month below:
SHA data source: Aviso