Shelf Circulation

West Florida Shelf Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model Domains (WFS-HYCOM)
Shelf Circulation

The West Florida Shelf is a broad shelf region that is strongly influenced by atmospheric forcing (wind, heat flux, and precipitation), coastal freshwater runoff, and strong offshore currents associated with the Loop Current and both cyclonic (anticlockwise flow) and anticyclonic (clockwise flow) eddies. Due to high biological productivity and important recreational use, it is important to understand and predict the circulation over the West Florida Shelf since this circulation transports nutrients required by sea life along with pollutants between the deep Gulf of Mexico and the coastal waters.

As an example, the figure above shows how the Loop Current can drive a meandering southward flow along the middle and outer shelf when it flows north to south along the southwest corner of the West Florida Shelf (right panel) and does not drive any flow over the shelf when it follows a different path (left panel).

George Halliwell —