Hypoxia and the Physics of the Louisiana Coastal Current

  • Wm. J. WisemanJr.
  • R. E. Turner
  • D. Justic
  • N. N. Rabalais
Part of the NATO Science Series: IV: Earth and Environmental Sciences book series (NAIV, volume 36)


The Mississippi River is the largest river in North America. It drains 2.979 106 km2, including 41% of the lower 48 United States and parts of two Canadian provinces. The effluent from this system is debouched into the Gulf of Mexico through the modern birdfoot delta of the Mississippi River and through a secondary outlet, the Atchafalaya River delta. Under the influence of the Coriolis force, a significant portion of these waters flows westward along the Louisiana coast as the highly stratified Louisiana Coastal Current (Wiseman and Kelly, 1994). Each summer, hypoxic or, occasionally, anoxic conditions develop beneath the associated halocline. (Hypoxia is defined operationally as dissolved oxygen concentrations less than 2 mg/1 (Rabalais, et al. 1991).)


Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler Alongshore Current Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler Data Alongshore Wind Mississippi River System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen, JS and Newberger PA (1996) Downwelling circulation on the Oregon continental shelf. Part I:response to idealized forcing. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 26(10):2011–2035.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, JS, Newberger PA and Federiuk J (1995) Upwelling circulation on the Oregon continental shelf. Part I: response to idealized forcing. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 25(8): 1843–1866.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bierman, VJ, Jr., Hinz SC, Zhu D, Wiseman WJ, Jr., Rabalais NN and Turner RE (1994) A preliminary mass balance model of primary productivity and dissolved oxygen in the Mississippi River plume/inner Gulf shelf. Estuaries, 17(4):886–899.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Caddy, JF (1993) Toward a comparative evaluation of human impacts onfisheries ecosystems of enclosed and semi-enclosed seas. Rev. Fish. Sci.. 1:57–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen, C, Wiesenburg D and Xie L (1997) Influences of river discharges on biological production over the inner shelf: a coupled biological and physical model of the Louisiana-Texas shelf. J. Mar. Res., 55, 293–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cho, K, Reid RO and Nowlin WD Jr. (1998) Objectively mapped stream function fields on the Texas-Louisiana shelf based on 32 months of moored current meter data. J. Geophys. Res., 103(C5): 10377–10390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chuang, W-S and Wiseman WJ Jr., (1983) Coastal sea level response to frontal passages on the Louisiana-Texas shelf. J. Geophys. Res., 88(C4):2615–2620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cochrane, JD and Kelly FJ Jr., (1986) Low-frequency circulation on the Texas-Louisiana shelf. J. Geophys. Res., 91(C9): 10645–10659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crout, RL (1983) Wind-driven, near-bottom currents over the west Louisiana inner continental shelf. Unpublished M. S. thesis. Dept. of Marine Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. pp. 125.Google Scholar
  10. Crout, RL, Wiseman WJ Jr. and Chuang W-S (1984) Variability of wind-driven currents, west Louisiana inner continental shelf: 1978–1979. Contributions in Marine Science, 27:1–11.Google Scholar
  11. Csanady, GT (1981) Circulation in the coastal ocean. Advances in Geophysics, 23:101–1183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Current, C L. 1996. Spectral model simulation of wind driven subinertial circulation on the inner Texas-Louisiana shelf. Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation. Dept. of Oceanography. Texas A&M University. College Station, TX. pp. 159.Google Scholar
  13. Dagg, MJ (1988) Physical and biological responses to the passage of a winter storm in the coastal and inner shelf waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Cont. Shelf Res., 8:167–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dinnel, SP and Wiseman WJ Jr. (1986) Fresh water on the Louisiana and Texas shelves. Cont. Shelf Res., 6(6):765–784.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dortch, Q, Rabalais NN, Turner RE, and Qureshi NA (2001) Impacts of changing Si/N ratios and phytoplankton species composition. In (N. N. Rabalais and R. E. Turner, eds.) Coastal Hypoxia: Consequences for Living Resources and Ecosystems. Coastal and Estuarine Studies 58. Washington, DC. Am. Geophys. Union. pp.37–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Herring, JH, Inoue M, Mellor GL, Mooers CNK, Niiler PP, Oey L-Y, Patchen RC, Vukovitch FM, and Wiseman WJ, Jr. (1999) Coastal Ocean Modeling Program for the Gulf of Mexico. Final Report to the Minerals Management Service, Environmental Division, Technical Analysis Group. (3 volumes and 17 Appendices).Google Scholar
  17. Justic, D, Rabalais NN, and Turner RE (1996) Effects of climate change on hypoxia in coastal waters: a doubled C02 scenario for the northern Gulf of Mexico. Limnology and Oceanography 41(5):992–1003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Justic, D, Rabalais NN, and Turner RE (2003a) Climatic influences on riverine nitrate flux: Implications for coastal marine eutrophication and hypoxia. Estuaries, 26:1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Justic, D, Rabalais NN, and Turner RE (2003b) Simulated responses of the Gulf of Mexico hypoxia to variations in climate and anthropogenic nutrient loading. J. Mar. Syst., in press.Google Scholar
  20. Justic, D, Rabalais NN, Turner RE, and Dortch Q (1995) Changes in nutrient structure of river-dominated coastal waters: Stoichiometric nutrient balance and its consequences. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 40:339–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kundu, PK and Allen JS (1976) Some three-dimensional characteristics of low-frequency current fluctuations near the Oregon coast. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 6(2): 181–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lewis, JK and Reid RO (1985) Local wind forcing of a coastal sea at subinertial frequencies. J. Geophys. Res., 90(Cl):935–944.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Murray, SP (1997) An observational study of the Mississippi-Atchafalaya coastal plume: Final report. OCS Study MMS 98–0040. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, New Orleans, LA. 513 pp.Google Scholar
  24. Nelsen, T.A, Blackwelder P, Hood T, McKee B, Romer N, Alvarez-Zarikian C, and Metz S (1994) Time-based correlation of biogenic, lithogenic, and authigenic sediment components with anthropogenic inputs in the Gulf of Mexico NECOP study area. Esruaries,17(4):873–885.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nowlin, WD, Jr., Jochens AE, Reid RO, and DiMarco SF (1998) Texas-Louisiana shelf circulation and transport processes study: Synthesis Report, Vol. I: Technical report. OCS Study MMS 98–0035. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico Region, New Orleans, LA. 502 pp.Google Scholar
  26. Ormsby, JFA (1961) Design of numerical filters with applications to missile data processing. Journal of the ACM, 8(3):440–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rabalais, NN, Turner RE, and Wiseman WJ Jr. (2002a) Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia, a.k.a. “The Dead Zone”. Annual Reviews of Ecology and Systematics, 33:235–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rabalais, NN, Turner RE, and Scavia D (2002b) Beyond science into policy: Gulf of Mexico hypoxia and the Mississippi River. BioScience, 52:129–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Scavia, D, Rabalais NN, Turner RE, Justic D, and Wiseman WJ Jr. Predicting the Response of Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia to Variations in Mississippi River Nitrogen Load. Limnol. Oceanogr., 48(3):.951–956.Google Scholar
  30. Wiseman, WJ Jr. and Kelly FJ (1994) Salinity variability within the Louisiana Coastal Current during the 1982 flood season. Estuaries, 17(4):732–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wiseman, WJ Jr., Murray SP, Bane JM and Tubman MW (1982) Physical environment of the Louisiana Bight. Contributions in Marine Science, 25:109–120.Google Scholar
  32. Wiseman, WJ Jr., Rabalais NN, Turner RE, Dinnel SP and MacNaughton A (1997) Seasonal and interannual variability within the Louisiana Coastal Current: stratification and hypoxia. J. Mar. Sys.. 12:237–248.Google Scholar
  33. Wiseman, WJ, Jr., Inoue M, Patchen R, Ransibrahmanakul V, Murray SP, and DiMarco S (2000) Hydrography of the Louisiana Coastal Current: Model-Data Comparison. In (T. Yanagi, ed.) Interactions between Estuaries, Coastal Seas and Shelf Seas, Terra Scientific Publishing Company (TERRAPUB), Tokyo. pp. 287–302.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wm. J. WisemanJr.
    • 1
  • R. E. Turner
    • 1
  • D. Justic
    • 1
  • N. N. Rabalais
    • 2
  1. 1.Coastal Studies Institute, and Department of Oceanography and Coastal SciencesLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.Louisiana Universities Marine ConsortiumChauvinUSA

Personalised recommendations