2019-12-31 0:0:0
Understanding How the Complex Topography of the Deep-water Gulf of Mexico Influences Water-column Mixing Processes and the Vertical and Horizontal Distribution of Oil and Gas after a Blowout
Coastal Hazards CH
Other (see project description)
Improved representation of mixing processes in oil plume dispersal models was sought by researchers who investigated linkages between the vertical distribution of turbulent mixing, bathymetry characteristics, and physical forcing phenomena of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Using gliders, a vertically-sampling turbulence profiler, a CTD Rosette, and moorings, field data were collected on ocean turbulence, velocity, and stratification from the surface to 1000 m water depth. The anticipated linkages were expected to show a quasi-stationary response to quasi-stationary flow over the steep and rough topography of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Instead, based upon moored time series observations, the response at the local diurnal (once a day) / inertial (once a pendulum day) time scale is fundamental. For the modeling community, this means that to get the instabilities right, the structure of the boundary layer must be right, and even ultra-high regional models lack this resolution. The turbulence and high frequency moored data enable a better understanding of the boundary layer structure in the northern Gulf of Mexico. This insight has been and is being communicated to the scientific community. Funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative