--> --> Abstract: Satellite Flow Field Estimation for Prediction of Sea Surface Motion at Spill-Relevant Scales: Applications to the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico, by A. C. Vastano; #90992 (1993).

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VASTANO, ANDREW C., Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

ABSTRACT: Satellite Flow Field Estimation for Prediction of Sea Surface Motion at Spill-Relevant Scales: Applications to the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico

Flow estimates are necessary for spill response decisions pertinent to initial ship and equipment deployments. Predictions of surface flow are then required to support plans for spill control and remediation. This information is often needed before the response delivers coherent post-spill observations. Effective flow estimations and predictions must be based on observations and analyses with areal coverage that resolve oceanic turbulence. The spatial and temporal domain considered in the spill response should encompass physical features that can dominate advective processes and influence oil trajectories.

Approaches to spill response trajectory predictions frequently rely on wind forcing of initial flow fields primarily obtained by interpolation of historical mean flow characterizations. The potential for inaccurate results can be high in the absence of the pervasive variability in continental shelf flow regimes. However, satellite observation and the extraction of flow vector estimates from sequential infrared images can adequately define variability in circulation patterns. A summary of the interactive satellite technique, a statistical estimate of its accuracy, and discussion of

its use will be given. Events on the Texas-Louisiana shelf's Galveston lightering area are selected for examples. Observations of the episodic Texas Coastal Current regime are shown as examples of the spatial and temporal variability in the area. Changes in the lightering-area flow pattern associated with an observed, natural dynamic spin-down are presented. Mean flow conditions are contrasted with a flow pattern for an Atchafalaya Current realization and the shelf response to a warm core ring over the continental slope.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90992©1993 AAPG Pacific Section Meeting, Long Beach, California, May 5-7, 1993.