Gulf Research Program Awards $2 Million to Seven Projects to Improve Understanding and Prediction of the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current System

The Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine today announced $2 million in grant awards for seven new projects through its Understanding Gulf Ocean Systems (UGOS) Grants 2 competition. The UGOS grants support projects focused on new theories, technologies, and methodologies to improve understanding and prediction of the Loop Current System (LCS) of the Gulf of Mexico.

The LCS consists of the Loop Current, a stream of warm ocean water that moves through the Gulf and into the Atlantic Ocean, and eddies that separate from the Loop Current. It influences hurricane intensity, offshore safety, the entire Gulf food chain, and fishing, tourism, and other industries that are vital to the Gulf Coast economy. However, LCS behavior is difficult to study and predict, because its position, depth, temperature, and strength are constantly changing.

“Scientists have been trying to understand the Loop Current System for decades, but several important questions remain unanswered about its features and its interaction with other ocean processes,” said Karina Khazmutdinova, associate program officer for the GRP. “Being able to better predict its behavior could improve disaster planning and response, promote safer offshore operations, and protect the people and marine life in our coastal communities.”

With expertise in physical oceanography, machine learning, data processing, statistical analysis, and other areas, the UGOS-2 grantees will be working closely with teams funded under the first UGOS funding competition.

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