Sensors 2008, 8(7), 4249-4264; doi:10.3390/s8074249
Article

Short-term Influences on Suspended Particulate Matter Distribution in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Satellite and Model Observations

1 Louisiana State University, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Coastal Studies Institute, LA 70803, USA 2 Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, MS, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 May 2008; in revised form: 29 June 2008 / Accepted: 7 July 2008 / Published: 15 July 2008
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Remote Sensing)
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Abstract: Energetic meteorological events such as frontal passages and hurricanes often impact coastal regions in the northern Gulf of Mexico that influence geochemical processes in the region. Satellite remote sensing data such as winds from QuikSCAT, suspended particulate matter (SPM) concentrations derived from SeaWiFS and the outputs (sea level and surface ocean currents) of a nested navy coastal ocean model (NCOM) were combined to assess the effects of frontal passages between 23-28 March 2005 on the physical properties and the SPM characteristics in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Typical changes in wind speed and direction associated with frontal passages were observed in the latest 12.5 km wind product from QuikSCAT with easterly winds before the frontal passage undergoing systematic shifts in direction and speed and turning northerly, northwesterly during a weak and a strong front on 23 and 27 March, respectively. A quantitative comparison of model sea level results with tide gauge observations suggest better correlations near the delta than in the western part of the Gulf with elevated sea levels along the coast before the frontal passage and a large drop in sea level following the frontal passage on 27 March. Model results of surface currents suggested strong response to wind forcing with westward and onshore currents before the frontal passage reversing into eastward, southeastward direction over a six day period from 23 to 28 March 2005. Surface SPM distribution derived from SeaWiFS ocean color data for two clear days on 23 and 28 March 2005 indicated SPM plumes to be oriented with the current field with increasing concentrations in nearshore waters due to resuspension and discharge from the rivers and bays and its seaward transport following the frontal passage. The backscattering spectral slope γ, a parameter sensitive to particle size distribution also indicated lower γ values (larger particles) in nearshore waters that decreased offshore (smaller particles). The use of both satellite and model results revealed the strong interactions between physical processes and the surface particulate field in response to the frontal passage in a large riverdominated coastal margin.
Keywords: winds; circulation model; suspended particulate matter; northern Gulf of Mexico; Mississippi River; QuikSCAT; SeaWiFS.

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MDPI and ACS Style

D’Sa, E.J.; Ko, D.S. Short-term Influences on Suspended Particulate Matter Distribution in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Satellite and Model Observations. Sensors 2008, 8, 4249-4264.

AMA Style

D’Sa EJ, Ko DS. Short-term Influences on Suspended Particulate Matter Distribution in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Satellite and Model Observations. Sensors. 2008; 8(7):4249-4264.

Chicago/Turabian Style

D’Sa, Eurico J.; Ko, Dong S. 2008. "Short-term Influences on Suspended Particulate Matter Distribution in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Satellite and Model Observations." Sensors 8, no. 7: 4249-4264.

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