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UGOS (GODEEP/LC-Floats): Near Real-time Hydrography and Deep Velocity in the Loop Current System using Autonomous Profilers

Amy Bower (WHOI), Steve Jayne (WHOI), Heather Furey (WHOI). Collaborator: Paula Perez-Brunius (CICESE)

LC Floats project imageA fleet of 20-25 autonomous profilers deployed in the Loop Current System (LCS) active area in the eastern Gulf of Mexico are part of the NAS Understanding Gulf Ocean Systems campaign, and provide publicly-available near-real-time data to weather forecast models to aid in hurricane prediction.  These data are also being used in conjunction with c-PIES data to explore the physical mechanism of Loop Current expansion into the Gulf and subsequent Loop Current Ring formation.  Read More

These Argo-equivalent floats drift at 1500 m and measure temperature and salinity from the sea surface to 2000 m every five days, generating 120-150 profiles and deep velocity measurements every month. These instruments are considered standard Argo floats, and all data is being made publicly available in near-real time (within 24 hours) and in final form (within 6-12 months) via the Global Telecommunications System (GTS) and global Data Assembly Center (GDAC). The project team includes U.S. and Mexican scientists with deep end-to-end experience in the use of floats for oceanographic studies in the Gulf of Mexico and worldwide, from procurement, ballasting and communications, to calibration, data processing and data delivery, to scientific analysis and publication of results. The profile and velocity data collected by this fleet of profilers will be valuable to scientists and forecasters in numerous ways, such as stated above: for data assimilation and Loop Current prediction, weather and hurricane forecasting, as well as deep oil spill tracking. Additionally, the team will generate statistical data products for comparison with past LCS studies and to assist with planning the long-term LCS campaign.

Current position of floats deployed to date:


GRIIDC Gulf Science Data Repository:

Bower, Amy S., Furey, Heather H., & Jayne, Steven R., UGOS S2A (SOLO) Profiling Float Data, doi: 10.7266/d4ehecf

WHOI-Argo webpages of the floats deployed to date:

Cruise 1, UGOS1, June 2019, R/V Pelican:
( 9 floats deployed, 8 successful )
7491 7492 7540 7541 7542 7544
7545 7568 7495 - dud

Cruise 2, UGOS1, September-October 2019, R/V Pelican:
( 12 floats deployed, 12 successful )
7495 7499 7513 7518 7556 7557
7559 7560 7561 7577 7584 7586

Cruise 3, UGOS1, September-October 2020, R/V Pelican:
( 4 floats deployed, 4 successful )
7519 7543 7538 7549

Cruise 4, UGOS1, May 2021, R/V Pelican:
( 4 floats deployed, 4 successful )
7618 7622 7623 7624

Cruise 5, UGOS3, October 2022, R/V Pelican:
( 8 floats deployed, 6 successful )
7690 7700 7701 7703-(dud) 7726 7729 7742 7755

Cruise 6, UGOS3, June 2023, R/V Pelican:
( 16 floats deployed, 16 successful )

7771 7772 7776 7779 7796 7801 7802 7877 7861 7873 7878 7879 7880 7882 7883 7884


This project is generously funded by the National Academy of Sciences.


Gewin, Virginia. “A Scientific “Forced Marriage” Takes on the Mysteries of the Loop Current.Issues in Science and Technology 40, no. 2 (Winter 2024): 63–69.

West-Mack, D., and H. Furey, 2023.  PE23-23 Cruise Report UGOS GODEEP 2023 WHOI Cruise Report, June 2023, 21 pp.

Meunier, T., P. Perez Brunius, and A. Bower, 2022. Reconstructing the three-dimensional structure of loop current rings from satellite altimetry and in situ data using the Gravest Empirical Modes Methods. Remote Sensing, 14(17), 4174.

Furey, H., D. West-Mack, and P. Robbins, 2022.  PE2307 Cruise Report UGOS GODEEP 2022 WHOI Cruise Report, 22 pp.


LC-Floats float missions changed to higher sampling frequency during 2021 hurricane season.

Image from 30 August 2021, Hurricane Ida.

Hurricane Pilot Study 2021 - floats under path of Ida

LC-Floats under hurricane paths:

November 2020 - Hurricane Eta

Hurricane Eta over GOM

October 2020 - Hurricane Zeta


October 2020 - Hurricane Delta









September 2020 - Hurricane Sally








August 2020 - Hurricane Laura and Marco