Alternate Title

Hydrographic Properties and Inferred Circulation Over the Northeastern Shelves of the Gulf of Mexico During Spring to Midsummer of 1998


A hydrographic cruise was conducted 5-16 May 1998 over the northeastern shelves of the Gulf of Mexico, Observed distributions of temperature, salinity, oxygen, and nutrients were consonant with prior occurrences of upwelling, particularly near the head of DeSoto Canyon. Shipboard, moored, and satellite observations indicated these upwelling events were related to the presence of an anticyclonic circulation feature over the canyon. In addition, several cool water events occurred during spring in the nearshore region west of Pensacola; these may be attributed to atmospheric effects. High river discharges from rivers west of the Apalachicola during winter and spring likely resulted in the extensive surface distributions of low-salinity water observed from Mississippi Sound to Cape San Bias during the cruise. The combination of cool bottom temperatures and relatively low surface salinities over the inshore shelf west of Cape San Bias, with the usual seasonal warming, resulted in enhanced vertical stability. This stability likely inhibited vertical mixing and contributed to the development of the relatively low concentrations of dissolved oxygen observed in the bottom waters.