map with current vectors of Loop Current in Gulf of Mexico

National Academies Award Grant to Study Loop Current

Dr. Ruoying He and the Ocean Observing and Modeling Group has been awarded a major grant as part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine¬†investigation of the Gulf of Mexico’s Loop Current. OOMG’s numerical modeling project is the largest of eight new projects that will advance our understanding of the Loop Current using a multifaceted approach that includes modeling, adding more oberving infrastrucutre, and data compilation.

The research project will use numerical modeling and data observations to deepen our understanding of the Loop Current, the dominant circulation feature in the Gulf. Entering through the Yucatan Channel and exiting through the Florida Straits, this fast, warm, saline flow is the precursor to the Gulf Stream. The Loop Current sheds eddies at irregular intervals; these strong circular flows translate westward across the Gulf, impacting activities, structures, biology, and water conditions.

NC State University is the lead institution for this cooperative effort. Dr. He will be joined by Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Florida State University, UC Santa Cruz, and the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education at Ensenada (Mexico) in using data assimilative modeling and high-performance computing to understand Loop Current dynamics and evaluate ocean observation systems in the Gulf.

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