The Gulf of Mexico Loop Current is one of the most dynamic ocean currents in the world. Walker and staff have developed specialized image processing techniques that provide better and more frequent SST retrievals in the Gulf to monitor these currents. Gulf currents are known to impact hurricanes.
The Loop Current and the warm-core eddies that separate from it are large reservoirs of heat that have the capability to intensify hurricanes and tropical storms
crossing the Gulf. Conversely, Walker’s research has shown that cold-core eddies, which are regions of vigorous upwelling become energized by hurricane winds. In extreme cases, the cold water that is rapidly upwelled from ~60 m depth can immediately weaken hurricanes by cutting off their energy before landfall. During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, our SST tracking capabilities led to the discovery of eddy merging
along the Loop Current margin, an event that significantly changed oil spill motion.