Winter cycle of sea surface thermal patterns, northeastern Gulf of Mexico.

Huh, O.K., Rouse, L.J., Jr. , and Wiseman, Wm. J., Jr.

During the winter of 1976-1977 a time series of NOAA satellite data was obtatined which documented the seasonal cycle of sea surface temperatures. Data were obtained as both marine-enhanced images and computer compatible tapes. Fall cooling initially affected only the lakes and estuaries. A band of cold inner shelf waters then formed along the coast. This expanded seaward to the shelf break as the winter season progressed. At the extreme of winter cooling, two major thermal fronts remained: one near the shelf edge, separating the shelf from deep gulf surface waters, and the other the cyclonic boundary of the Loop Current. The onset of spring warming was indicated by an increase in surface temperatures in the shallow inshore areas. The seasonal cycle was completed with the formation of nearly isothermal surface waters throughout the region, a condition characteristic of the summer season.

Ref: Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 83, pp. 4523-4529, Sept. 20, 1981

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