Island in the Stream: Oceanography and Fisheries of the Charleston Bump

Geostationary Satellite Animation of the Gulf Stream at the Charleston Bump

Richard Legeckis and Paul Chang


Abstract.—The animation of daily composites of sea surface temperatures (SST) from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) provides a new method for the detection of dynamics at the surface of the ocean. By rapidly viewing the daily SST composites of hourly images, it is possible for the human eye to separate the fast moving residual clouds from the slowly moving SST patterns associated with ocean currents, eddies, and upwelling. Although each individual daily composite is still partly cloud covered, the rapid display provides the appearance of continuity of the SST patterns. The GOES SST animations were used during 1998 and 1999 to monitor the time dependent deflection of the Gulf Stream due to a rise in bottom topography southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, locally known as the Charleston Bump. Examples of the sea surface temperature animations of the Gulf Stream appear at the website: http://