Ocean color in the coastal Gulf of Mexico

Figure showing the color of various water masses in the coastal Gulf of Mexico.  The image was recorded as part of a project studying ocean mixing and the anisotropy of relative dispersion in the coastal ocean.  As part of the project, rhodamine dye was deployed in the shape of a circle.  The dye patch was then measured following its motion to quantify how it deforms spatially as it moves with the ocean currents.  In the upper right quadrant of the photo a once-circular dye patch can be seen in an elongated shape oriented in the along-shore direction.  Sharp fronts in water mass properties associated with different colored water parcels seen in the photo contribute to anisotropic relative dispersion by inhibiting flow in particular directions.  Results of the research will ultimately used to develop predictive transport and dispersion models of spilled oil.

Credit: Nick Statom