Collaborative Research: An Observational and Modeling Study of the Physical Processes Driving Exchanges Between the Shelf and the Deep Ocean At Cape Hatteras

Sponsor:  National Science Foundation


University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography: Catherine Edwards, Dana Savidge
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill: John Bane, Harvey Seim
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Magdalena Andres, Glen Gawarkiewicz, Robert Todd

Funding period

April 2016 – March 2020


Subtropical and subpolar oceanic gyre boundaries are characterized by confluent western boundary currents and convergence in the adjacent shelf and slope waters. Together, they lead to large net export of shelf waters to the deep ocean, and complex, bidirectional shelf-deep ocean exchange, in response to strong forcing typical of midlatitude western ocean margins. Shelf-deep ocean exchange processes at such dynamic sites remain poorly understood, due in part to the technical challenge of resolving broad ranges of relevant spatial and temporal scales. This project will deploy fixed, mobile, and remote observational platforms in combination with idealized and realistic numerical simulations to investigate exchange processes near Cape Hatteras. The sampling array will provide unprecedented temporal and spatial resolution in a region of large episodic export and exchange


Work is in progress.

This web site explains the project to the public.


Andres, M. (2016) On the recent destabilization of the Gulf Stream path downstream of Cape Hatteras, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, doi: 10.1002/2016GL069966 [PDF] [Supplement]

Andres, M., M. Muglia, F. Bahr, and J. Bane (2018) Continuous flow of upper Labrador Sea water around Cape Hatteras, Scientific Reports, 8:4494, doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-22758-z

Zeng, X. and R. He (2016) Gulf Stream variability and a triggering mechanism of its large meander in the South Atlantic Bight, Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, 121, doi: 10.1002/2016JC012077 [PDF]

Media and Presentations

“Team Tracks Ocean Energy From Land, Sea,” by C. Kozak, May 4, 2017 in the Coastal Review Onlinelink

Ocean Sciences Meeting 2018, hosted by   the American Geophysical Union, the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, and The Oceanography Society. Portland, OR, USA. Presentations by this project’s researchers:

  • POSTER: Compact WERA HF-Radar Installations at Cape Hatteras Contributing to Glider Control, Feature Tracking and Examination of Cross-shelf Exchange Processes.  Authors: G. Matthais, D. Savidge, C. Edwards, H. Seim, S. Haines, M. Muglia, L.Han, N. DiSimone.
  • TOWN HALL: Ocean Observatories Initiative Facility Board Town Hall. Panelists include R. He.
  • PRESENTATION: Marine Biogeochemical Responses to a Large Gulf Stream Offshore Meander. Authors: H. Zong, R. He, and X. Zeng.
  • POSTER: The Potential for Sustained Gulf Stream Monitoring With Autonomous Underwater Gliders (Invited). Authors: R. Todd and J. Heiderich.
  • PRESENTATION: Evidence of a Fast-Track for Upper Labrador Sea Water at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Authors: M. Muglia, M. Andres, F. Bahr, J. Bane, H. Seim.
  • PRESENTATION: The Transport of the Gulf Stream Along the U.S. East Coast. Authors: J. Heiderich and R. Todd.
  • POSTER: Variation in the Position and Character of the Hatteras Front. Authors: H. Seim, C. Edwards, S. Haines, L. Han, R. Todd, M. Muglia, D. Savidge, G. Gawarkiewicz, J. Bane.
  • POSTER: Modeling Study of Physical-Biogeochemical Processes Associated With the “Green River” in the Gulf of Mexico. Authors: R. He and H. Zong.
  • POSTER: Modeling Processes Driving Exchanges Near Cape Hatteras, NC. Authors: X. Zeng, R. He, and J. Bane.
  • POSTER: Transient Response of the Gulf Stream to Multiple Hurricanes in 2017. Authors: R. Todd, T. Asher, J. Heiderich, J. Bane, and R. Luettich.
  • PRESENTATION: Investigation of Precipitation on Upper-Ocean Stratification During Hurricanes Irene (2011) and Harvey (2017). Authors: J. Zambon, R. He, J. C. Warner, and H. Zong.
  • PRESENTATION: Variability of the Hydrography and Circulation over the Continental Shelf North of Cape Hatteras in April 2017: Observations from the PEACH Program. Authors: G. Gawarkiewicz, H. Seim, S. Haines, F. Bahr, R. Todd, M. Andres.