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Recent interest in deepwater physical oceanography in the Gulf of Mexico has developed due to the recent increase in deepwater exploration and development. Few observations of the deepwater circulation of the Gulf of Mexico are available, and deepwater observational studies in physical oceanography are costly. Modeling efforts is an alternate approach to study deepwater circulation. However, modeling efforts must be validated by deepwater observational data in order to produce reliable estimates of deep currents, temperature, and velocity. As part of a NOPP Gulf of Mexico study 17 PALACE floats were launched in the northern Gulf of Mexico in 1998. Each float was programmed to float at 900m depth, surfacing once a week for about 12 hours to transmit data via satellite. These data have not yet been fully utilized.

The objectives of this study are:

  • to investigate the mean flows obtained from these drifter data and estimate their statistically significance;
  • to work with modelers to better understand the observations;
  • to look at the PALACE temperature profile data; and
  • to compare intermediate depth inferred flows to other measurements.