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A Lagrangian Study of the Deep Circulation in the Gulf of Mexico

Co-PIs:  Amy Bower (WHOI), Peter Hamilton (Leidos), Paula Perez-Brunius (CICESE) and Bob Leben (U. Colorado)

This study was designed to map circulation throughout the deep Gulf of Mexico with a large number of subsurface neutrally buoyant floats, producing new knowledge on circulation features and processes, and deep-water parcel transport and dispersion.  The instruments used were acoustically tracked RAFOS floats (ballasted for 1500- and 2500-dbar), to map water parcel pathways, and profiling APEX floats equipped with bio-optical sensors, which profiled from the surface to 1500-dbar.  A total of 180 RAFOS floats and 6 APEX floats were deployed in different seasons over three years 2011-2013.  The final three seedings of RAFOS floats surfaced in spring 2015 and the APEX continued to report twice-monthly profile data through the end of 2015.


Furey, H., P. Perez-Brunius, A. Bower, and P. Hamilton, 2014. Deep Eddies in the Gulf of Mexico. AGU Fall 2014, OS43B-1278


This project was generously funded through SAIC by a grant from the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management.



Morey, S.L., Gopalakrishnan, G., Pallás Sanz, E., De Souza, J.M.A.C., Donohue, K., Pérez-Brunius, P., Dukhovskoy, D., Chassignet, E., Cornuelle, B., Bower, A. and Furey, H., 2020. Assessment of Numerical Simulations of Deep Circulation and Variability in the Gulf of Mexico Using Recent Observations. Journal of Physical Oceanography, (2020).

Hamilton, P., A. Bower, H. Furey, R. Leben, and P. Perez-Brunius, 2019. The Loop Current: Observations of deep eddies and topographic waves. Journal of Physical Oceanography, doi.10.1175/JPO-D-18-0213.1.

Ramsey, A., H. Furey, and A. Bower, 2018. Deep floats reveal ocean circulation patterns. Eos, 99,

Furey, H., Bower, A., Perez-Brunius, P., Hamilton, P. and Leben, R., 2018. Deep eddies in the Gulf of Mexico observed with floats. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 48(11), pp.2703-2719.

Hamilton, P., Leben, R., Bower, A., Furey, H. and Pérez-Brunius, P., 2018. Hydrography of the Gulf of Mexico using autonomous floats. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 48(4), pp.773-794.

Pérez Brunius, P, H. Furey, A. Bower, P. Hamilton, J. Candela, P. Garcia-Carrilo, and R. Leben, 2018. Dominant circulation patterns of the deep Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Physical Oceanography,

Hamilton, P. A. Bower, H. Furey. R. Leben, and P. Perez-Brunius, 2016.  Deep Circulations in the Gulf of Mexico: A Lagrangian Study.  U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, New Orleans, LA. OCS Study BOEM 2016-081, 289 pp.

Green, R., A.S. Bower, and A. Lugo-Fernandez, 2014.  First autonomous bio-optical profiling float in the Gulf of Mexico reveals dynamic biogeochemistry in deep watersPLOS ONE 9(7):e101658