Understanding Gulf Ocean Systems Grant Awards|
Image: Christopher Henze, NASA/Ames
Understanding Gulf Ocean Systems Grants 2 (Awarded 2019)
Topic: Fostering Innovation to Improve Understanding and Prediction of the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current System
Total Awards: 7 projects totaling $2,015,784
Grant Type: Loop Current System Research Campaign
Grant Type Description: Grants of up to 18 months to support innovative theories, technologies, or methodologies that build upon existing understanding of the dynamics driving the LCS and could help improve forecasting capabilities of the Loop Current and its associated eddies.
An Altimetry-Based Statistical Forecast Model for the Loop Current System [Back to top]
Award Amount: $78,000
Project Director: George Forristall (Forristall Ocean Engineering Inc.)
Project Team Affiliation: Colorado Altimetrics LLC.
Overview: This project will develop a forecast system, ForLoop, which will pull information from machine learning algorithms and 26 years of open source data on daily sea level fluctuations. ForLoop will allow users to digitize sea level or surface temperature maps to predict Loop Current and Loop Current Eddy locations; and estimate the probability that the current or an eddy will affect a specific location over a range of forecasted periods.
Development of an Unstructured-Grid Nesting Method for the Study of Loop Current Frontal Eddies
Award Amount: $283,847
Project Director: Haosheng Huang (Louisiana State University)
Project Team Affiliation: Louisiana State University
Overview: Researchers will nest an unstructured grid Finite Volume Community Ocean Model — a type of 3D ocean model — within the Gulf of Mexico. They will use the model to simulate energy conversion processes and the interactions between Loop Current Frontal Eddies (LCFEs) and changes in ocean floor depth. The goal is to establish an ocean forecasting system for the Gulf that is capable of an accurate one-two weeks Loop Current forecast. In addition, the team will create a 20-year satellite data archive to detect and analyze LCFE merging events that occur before eddy detachments and separations.
A Lagrangian Methodology to Quantify and Predict the Impact of Caribbean Eddies on LCS Dynamics
Award Amount: $349,874
Project Director: Vassiliki Kourafalou (University of Miami)
Project Team Affiliation: University of Miami
Overview: Understanding the dynamics of the western Caribbean Sea and southern part of the Yucatan Channel is critical for predicting the Loop Current System’s behavior. This project will quantify improvements in prediction skill when these Caribbean Sea observations are incorporated into forecasting models. Observations and high-resolution model simulations will provide a more detailed, objective description about the size, magnitude, and pathway of warm, circular currents (known as anticyclonic eddies) passing through the Yucatan Channel; and their relation to the anticyclonic eddies evolving inside the Gulf of Mexico.
Lagrangian Metrics for the Identification and Prediction of Loop Current Eddy Shedding Events
Award Amount: $302,287
Project Director: Helga Huntley (University of Delaware)
Project Team Affiliation: University of Delaware
Overview: This project will apply physics-based concepts to develop a new methodology to identify imminent Loop Current Eddy shedding events and the dynamics that cause them. It will also assess how well existing regional models are able to detect waves, currents, tides, and other physical ocean processes that lead to eddy shedding events.
Loop Current System SSH and Subsurface Current Prediction with a Transfer Learning Approach
Award Amount: $346,179
Project Director: Laurent Cherubin (Florida Atlantic University)
Project Team Affiliation: Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
Overview: Using 18 years of sea surface height (SSH) fields and sub-surface observations, this project will apply machine learning tools to predict Loop Current speed, vertical structure, and duration, to examine the eddy formation and shedding processes. The project aims to improve predictive capability of the location and duration of the Loop Current over a forecast period of one month; eddy shedding at two-three months; and predictive skill for Loop Current and Loop Current Eddy speed, vertical structure, and duration over a several day forecast.
The Loop Current and the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River System: Interactions, Variability and Modeling Requirements
Award Amount: $240,729
Project Director: Annalisa Bracco (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Project Team Affiliation: Georgia Institute of Technology
Overview: This project will explore the interactions between the Loop Current System and Mississippi-Atchafalaya River System discharge, in terms of seasonal changes, Loop Current position, and the presence of small eddies that range in size from 1 to 10 kilometers. It will also examine the physical processes that drive horizontal and vertical mixing in the portion of the northern Gulf of Mexico where the water is deeper than 150-200 meters.
Technology and Methods for Yucatán Channel Monitoring
Award Amount: $414,868
Project Director: Uwe Send (the Regents of the University of California, University of California, San Diego)
Project Team Affiliations: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, with Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada
Overview: This project will design a transport monitoring system in the Yucatan Channel (YC), drawing on data collected from 19 moorings and 99 sensors between 2018 and 2019. In addition, the team will develop and test innovative mooring designs that would enable real-time data transmission to shore. The goal is to leverage the existing intensive data set to determine which YC conditions are most critical to monitor, and identify the most cost-effective way to do so.
Understanding Gulf Ocean Systems Grants 1 (Awarded 2018)
Topic: Studies and Observations to Inform the Loop Current Campaign
Total Awards: 8 projects totaling $10,365,081
Grant Type: Loop Current System Research Campaign
Grant Type Description: Research, observation, and analysis activities to improve understanding, modeling, and forecasting of the Gulf of
Mexico Loop Current System.
Dry Tortugas and Lower Keys High Frequency Radars
Award Amount: $1,371,027
Project Director: Clifford Merz (University of South Florida)
Project Team Affiliations: University of South Florida in cooperation with Rutgers University and University of Miami
Overview: This project will procure, install, and operate high frequency radar systems to measure surface currents at three locations in the Straits of Florida region of the Gulf of Mexico: Fort Jefferson/Dry Tortugas National Park, Key West, and Marathon. The systems will provide new, real-time data for model assimilation and validation to better understand the evolution of the LCS.
Gulf of Mexico Loop Current and Eddy Observations from High Frequency Radar Systems
Award Amount: $1,229,424
Project Director: Stephan Howden (University of Southern Mississippi)
Project Team Affiliations: University of Southern Mississippi in cooperation with CODAR Ocean Sensors, Rutgers University, and Shell
Overview: This project will procure, install, and operate high frequency radar systems to measure surface currents from two offshore platforms at locations in the northeastern-most areas of oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The systems will provide new, real-time data for model assimilation and validation to better understand the evolution of the LCS.
Informing the Loop Current Campaign: Data Compilation to Improve Understanding, Simulation, and Prediction of the Loop Current System
Award Amount: $647,813
Project Director: Barbara Kirkpatrick (Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association)
Project Team Affiliations: Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association in cooperation with Fugro, Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, Ocean Sierra, RPS Ocean Systems, Texas A&M University–College Station, Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi, and Woods Hole Group
Overview: This project will design, develop, deploy, and maintain an information system to digitally compile, update, analyze, and make publicly accessible physical oceanographic and hydrographic data from Gulf of Mexico Loop Current field studies. The system will be an important component of future data compilation efforts for a long-term LCS research campaign.
Loop Current Floats: Near-Real-Time Hydrography and Deep Velocity in the Loop Current System Using Autonomous Profilers
Award Amount: $1,155,371
Project Director: Amy Bower (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Project Team Affiliations: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in cooperation with Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education at Ensenada)
Overview: This project will procure, deploy, and maintain a fleet of autonomous ocean dynamics-instrumented profiling floats to measure temperature, salinity, and current velocities in LCS active areas of the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
Award Amount: $2,100,946
Project Director: Ruoying He (North Carolina State University)
Project Team Affiliations: North Carolina State University in cooperation with Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education at Ensenada); Chevron; Florida State University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Scripps Institution of Oceanography; and University of California, Santa Cruz
Overview: This project will perform assessments of existing Gulf of Mexico forecasting systems to test the performance and sensitivity of current models in resolving both surface and subsurface circulation and to evaluate long-range prediction capabilities.
Passive Gulf of Mexico Loop Current Observations from High Frequency Radar Across the Yucatan Strait
Award Amount: $844,263
Project Director: Anthony Knap (Texas A&M University–College Station)
Project Team Affiliations: Texas A&M University–College Station in cooperation with CODAR Ocean Sensors and Rutgers University
Overview: This project will procure, install, and operate high frequency radar systems to measure surface currents at two locations in the Yucatan Channel region of the Gulf of Mexico: Isla Contoy and Puerto Morelos. The systems will provide new, real-time data for model assimilation and validation to better understand the evolution of the LCS.
Pressure and Current Meters
Award Amount: $2,078,240
Project Director: Kathleen Donohue (The University of Rhode Island)
Project Team Affiliation: The University of Rhode Island
Overview: This project will procure and deploy a coherent field array of sensors in deep waters of the central Gulf region to measure currents and pressures in the full water column from areas near the ocean floor to the surface. Data collected about full water column circulation will increase understanding of LCS behavior and inform LCS forecasting efforts.
Taking the Pulse of the West Florida Shelf at a Hypothesized Loop Current Control Point
Award Amount: $937,997
Project Director: Robert Weisberg (University of South Florida)
Project Team Affiliations: University of South Florida in cooperation with University of Delaware
Overview: This project will procure, deploy, and operate a single-point, real-time ocean dynamics mooring northwest of the Dry Tortugas to measure temperature, salinity, and currents at different depths.
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