Gulf Stream Mean and Eddy Kinetic Energy:

Three-dimensional estimates from underwater glider observations


Since 2015, Spray underwater gliders have routinely collected high-resolution observations in and near the Gulf Stream along the US East Coast. Todd (2021, Geophysical Research Letters) used the profiles of absolute horizontal velocity measured by the gliders to estimate mean and eddy kinetic energy on a 0.1° × 0.1° × 10 m grid that covers the Gulf Stream and surrounding waters along the US East Coast to a maximum depth of 1000 m. The methodology used to produce the estimates is described in detail in Todd (2021, Geophysical Research Letters). The figure below shows example horizontal and vertical slices through the mean and kinetic energy fields.

Fig. 1: Examples of the mean and eddy kinetic energy in and near the Gulf Stream. (a-f) Maps of (a-c) mean kinetic energy and (d-f) eddy kinetic energy at depths of 10 m, 200 m, and 500 m (top to bottom). (g-j) Sections of eddy kinetic energy in color with contours of mean kinetic energy in black with a contour interval of 100.5 m2 s-2 and the 10-1 m2 s-2 contour bold. Sections are along transects I-IV (bottom to top) shown in panels (a-f). Figure adapted from Figs. 2 and 3 of Todd (2021, Geophysical Research Letters) using the version of the data set available here. Click for full size figure.


Glider-based estimates of mean and eddy kinetic energy in and near the Gulf Stream are available for download in the netCDF file below. The netCDF file is CF-1.8 and ACDD-1.3 compliant and includes all relevant metadata. The file will be updated periodically as new glider observations become available.

Data file


You are welcome to download and use these estimates of Gulf Stream mean and kinetic energy. If you do so, please include the following two references in any presentations or publications:


For questions or for potential collaborations, please contact Robert Todd.