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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-241
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-241
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  15 Oct 2020

15 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

A gridded surface current product for the Gulf of Mexico from consolidated drifter measurements

Jonathan M. Lilly1 and Paula Pérez-Brunius2 Jonathan M. Lilly and Paula Pérez-Brunius
  • 1Theiss Research, La Jolla, California, USA
  • 2Departamento de Oceanografía, Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE), Ensenada, Mexico

Abstract. A large set of historical surface drifter data from the Gulf of Mexico – 3761 trajectories spanning 27 years and more than a dozen data sources – are collected, uniformly processed and quality controlled, and assimilated into a spatially and temporally gridded dataset called GulfFlow. This dataset is available in two versions, with one-quarter degree or one-twelfth degree spatial resolution respectively, both of which have overlapping monthly temporal bins with semimonthly spacing, and extend from the years 1992 through 2019. Together these form a significant resource for studying the circulation and variability in this important region. The uniformly processed historical drifter data interpolated to hourly resolution from all publicly available sources are also distributed in a separate product called GulfDriftersOpen. Forming a mean surface current map by directly bin-averaging the hourly drifter data is found to lead to severe artifacts, a consequence of the extremely inhomogeneous temporal distribution of the drifters. Averaging instead the already monthly-averaged data in GulfFlow avoids these problems, resulting in the highest-resolution map of the mean Gulf of Mexico surface currents yet produced. The consolidated drifter dataset is freely available from https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3985916 (Lilly and Pérez-Brunius, 2020a), while the gridded products are available for noncommercial use at https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3978793 (Lilly and Pérez-Brunius, 2020b), the latter being freely available for noncommercial use only for reasons discussed herein.

Jonathan M. Lilly and Paula Pérez-Brunius

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Status: open (until 10 Dec 2020)
Status: open (until 10 Dec 2020)
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Jonathan M. Lilly and Paula Pérez-Brunius

Data sets

GulfDrifters: A consolidated surface drifter dataset for the Gulf of Mexico J. M. Lilly and P. Pérez-Brunius https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3985916

GulfFlow: A gridded surface current product for the Gulf of Mexico from consolidated drifter measurements J. M. Lilly and P. Pérez-Brunius https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3978793

DWDE drifters: Trajectories of surface drifters in the western Gulf of Mexico from the Deep-Water Dispersion Experiment P. Pérez Brunius, P. García Carrillo, A. Ronquillo Méndez, J. Rodríguez Outerelo, A. Sandoval Rangel, C. Liera Grijalva, and X. Flores Vidal https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3979964

Jonathan M. Lilly and Paula Pérez-Brunius

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Short summary
A large set of historical surface drifter data from the Gulf of Mexico are processed and assimilated into a spatially and temporally gridded dataset called GulfFlow, forming a significant resource for studying the circulation and variability in this important region. The uniformly processed historical drifter data interpolated to hourly resolution from all publicly available sources are also distributed in a separate product. A greatly improved map of the mean circulation is presented.
A large set of historical surface drifter data from the Gulf of Mexico are processed and...
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