EXpendable Current Profiler (XCP) Observations

An eXpendable Current Profiler (XCP) is a probe that is dropped from a ship or an aircraft and measures the temperature and velocity as it falls through the water. A very thin wire transmits the measurements to the ship where it is recorded for later analysis. The probe is designed to fall at a known rate, so that the depth of the probe can be inferred from the time since it was launched. XCPs allow for rapid surveying from an aircraft or ship underway obtaining snapshots of oceanic vertical and horizontal structure on horizontal scales of 10's of kilometers. This instrument allows dynamical studies of internal gravity waves (including near-inertial waves and internal tides), fronts, and vortices (including rings and eddies).

The data presented in this page were collected during a joint mission by the University of Miami and NOAA/AOML in the Gulf of Mexico on May 18, 2010. These probes were deployed from a NOAA WP-3D aircraft .

Why are these observations helpful?

These products provide information about the vertical structure of the large scale circulation in the Gulf of Mexico. They describe the ocean current and temperature as a function of depth. Their information of surface currents can be used in the validation of numerical models currently being utilized in the Gulf of Mexico monitoring.

Velocity and Temperature Profiles for May 18-21, 2010 ( NOAA WP-3D aircraft )

The map below shows the location of XCP observations (blue dots) deployed by NOAA/AOML and UM/RSMAS scientists from a NOAA WP-3D aircraft between May 18-21, 2010. The map also shows the geostrophic surface velocity (vectors) and speed (colors) derived from satellite altimetry observations corresponding to the date of the survey. The location of the Deepwater Horizon is denoted by a red star. Nineteen profiles were collected over the Loop Current, shown by the large values of surface currents (orange and red colors). Click on the blue dots on the map to display the profiles.

XCP Observations for May 18-21, 2010