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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current: Critical Gaps and Recommendations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24823.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current: Critical Gaps and Recommendations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24823.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current: Critical Gaps and Recommendations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24823.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current: Critical Gaps and Recommendations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24823.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current: Critical Gaps and Recommendations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24823.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current: Critical Gaps and Recommendations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24823.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current: Critical Gaps and Recommendations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24823.
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Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current: Critical Gaps and Recommendations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24823.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current: Critical Gaps and Recommendations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24823.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current: Critical Gaps and Recommendations Committee on Advancing Understanding of Gulf of Mexico Loop Current Dynamics Gulf Research Program A Consensus Study Report of PREPUBLICATION COPY – Uncorrected Proofs

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 This activity was supported by the Gulf Research Program Fund. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-XXXXX-X International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-XXXXX-X Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/24823 Additional copies of this publication are available for sale from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2018 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current: Critical Gaps and Recommendations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/24823. PREPUBLICATION COPY – Uncorrected Proofs

The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org. PREPUBLICATION COPY – Uncorrected Proofs

Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task. Proceedings published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other event convened by the National Academies. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and are not endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies. For information about other products and activities of the National Academies, please visit www.nationalacademies.org/about/whatwedo. PREPUBLICATION COPY – Uncorrected Proofs

COMMITTEE ON ADVANCING UNDERSTANDING OF GULF OF MEXICO LOOP CURRENT DYNAMICS PAUL G. GAFFNEY (Chair), Monmouth University SHUYI S. CHEN, University of Washington STEVEN F. DiMARCO, Texas A&M University SCOTT GLENN, Rutgers University RUOYING HE, North Carolina State University JOSEPH KUEHL, University of Delaware ROBERT LEBEN, Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research PIERRE F.J. LERMUSIAUX, Massachusetts Institute of Technology RUTH L. PERRY, Shell Exploration & Production Company DANIEL L. RUDNICK, Scripps Institution of Oceanography NEHA SHARMA, Horizon Marine, Inc. D. RANDOLPH WATTS, University of Rhode Island ROBERT H. WEISBERG, University of South Florida DANA R. YOERGER, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Study Staff KELLY OSKVIG, Program Officer TERI THOROWGOOD, Administrative Coordinator v PREPUBLICATION COPY – Uncorrected Proofs

GULF RESEARCH PROGRAM ADVISORY BOARD JERRY M. MELILLO (Chair), Marine Biology Laboratory PORFIRIO ÁLVAREZ-TORRES, Consortium of Marine Research Institutions of the Gulf of Mexico KIM A. ANDERSON, Oregon State University KENNETH E. ARNOLD, K. Arnold Consulting and Worley Parsons ELLIOT L. ATLAS, University of Miami PATRICK BARNES, BFA Environmental J. FORD BRETT, Petroskills, Inc. ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI, JR., University Corporation for Atmospheric Research ELIZABETH (TERRY) FONTHAM, Louisiana State University KATHERINE H. FREEMAN, The Pennsylvania State University PAUL G. GAFFNEY, II, Monmouth University (Emeritus) WILLIAM “MONTY” GRAHAM, University of Southern Mississippi SARA J. GRAVES, Univeristy of Alabama MYRON P. GUTMANN, University of Colorado SUSAN HANSON, Clark University ANTHONY H. KNAP, Texas A&M University MICHAEL MACRANDER, Shell International B.V. (Retired) WILLIAM S. MARRAS, The Ohio State University JEAN MAY-BRETT, Louisiana Department of Education (Retired) KATHRYN MORAN, Ocean Networks Canada ALONZO L. POUGH, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation LIESEL A. RITCHIE, University of Colorado JONATHAN SAMET, University of Southern California RICHARD SEARS, Stanford University vi PREPUBLICATION COPY – Uncorrected Proofs

      REVIEWERS   This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: PAT HOGAN, Naval Research Laboratory ALEXIS LUGO-FERNANDEZ, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management JAMES J. RILEY, University of Washington NAN D. WALKER, Louisiana State University CARL WUNSCH, Harvard University Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by DAVID M. KARL, University of Hawaii. He was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.     vii  PREPUBLICATION COPY – Uncorrected Proofs 

viii PREPUBLICATION COPY – Uncorrected Proofs

CONTENTS 1 Introduction .............................................................................................................................................. 7 THREE CASES FOR ADVANCING THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE LOOP CURRENT SYSTEM .................................................................................................................................................. 9 CHARGE TO THE COMMITTEE .................................................................................................... 12 STUDY APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY ................................................................................ 13 2 Setting the Stage ..................................................................................................................................... 15 FUNDAMENTAL PROCESSES ......................................................................................................... 15 CURRENT STATE OF OBSERVATIONS AND OBSERVATIONAL TECHNOLOGY ............ 17 CURRENT STATE OF MODELING AND PREDICTIVE CAPABILITY ................................... 25 3 Critical Gaps and Recommendations................................................................................................... 28 OBSERVATIONS ................................................................................................................................. 29 TECHNOLOGY .................................................................................................................................... 37 DATA ASSIMILATION AND NUMERICAL MODELING ........................................................... 39 METRICS OF SUCCESS ..................................................................................................................... 44 4 Loop Current Campaign Solicitation Advice ...................................................................................... 46 A SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NEAR-TERM ACTION ................................. 47 THE “CAMPAIGN” ............................................................................................................................. 48 ESTIMATED COSTS ........................................................................................................................... 54 APPENDIXES A DESCRIPTION OF THE LOOP CURRENT .................................................................................... 64 B FUNDAMENTAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE LOOP CURRENT SYSTEM ........................... 67 C COMMITTEE BIOGRAPHIES .......................................................................................................... 71 D ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONs.............................................................................................. 77 ix PREPUBLICATION COPY – Uncorrected Proofs

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Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current: Critical Gaps and Recommendations Get This Book
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One of the most significant, energetic, yet not well understood, oceanographic features in the Americas is the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current System (LCS), consisting of the Loop Current (LC) and the Loop Current Eddies (LCEs) it sheds. Understanding the dynamics of the LCS is fundamental to understanding the Gulf of Mexico’s full oceanographic system, and vice versa. Hurricane intensity, offshore safety, harmful algal blooms, oil spill response, the entire Gulf food chain, shallow water nutrient supply, the fishing industry, tourism, and the Gulf Coast economy are all affected by the position, strength, and structure of the LC and associated eddies.

This report recommends a strategy for addressing the key gaps in general understanding of LCS processes, in order to instigate a significant improvement in predicting LC/LCE position, evolving structure, extent, and speed, which will increase overall understanding of Gulf of Mexico circulation and to promote safe oil and gas operations and disaster response in the Gulf of Mexico. This strategy includes advice on how to design a long-term observational campaign and complementary data assimilation and numerical modeling efforts.

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