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Marion Bermuda race Gulf Stream analysis

Jun 19, 2009

Well-known Gulf Stream "eddy-ologist" Jenifer Clark, who is a former NOAA scientist and currently a satellite oceanography consultant, sent us this report of her talk to Marion Bermuda racers prior to today's start of the Marion Bermuda Race

Today Dane Clark, my meteorologist husband, and I flew to Marion to give our Gulf Stream and weather briefing to our clients in the race. The room was packed with eager sailors who wanted to get the edge! This is our 30th year together giving the briefings!! On June 5th, we briefed many of the Bermuda 1-2 racers for the first leg going from Newport to Bermuda. Following the dictates of Murphy's law, the area between the stream and Bermuda has not been clear for more than three weeks AND our best ocean site (Johns Hopkins) has been down all week due to hackers! I am not used to being wrong but I have to say that I gave a bum forecast to the Bermuda 1-2 in incorrectly forecasting the position of a large cold eddy, circulating counterclockwise, northwest of Bermuda.  Since I had not seen it for weeks, I estimated the position and suggested they look for the favorable current on the western side of the eddy and west of the rhumb line near Bermuda. They found two knots of current against in that area! So after wiping the egg off my face, I recovered and intensely studied the area using altimetry data and other sources. This has potential benefits for the Marion racers since we now have a much better idea of where the cold eddy is actually located. I strongly suggest that all racers check daily the Hopkins site (in case it comes back up); as well as the Rutgers site since they are available to the public. Also sea surface temperature is critical for determining which water mass the racers are in.  Hopefully all of the racers have a thermometer on board.  Well it is close to midnight and I have been up for 24 hours, so I am going to bed!

Jenifer Clark
Satellite Oceanographer
410-286-5370
http://www.erols.com/gulfstrm/