More on the recent hurricanes in the Gulf:
Scientists monitoring ocean heat and circulation in the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have a new understanding of how these tropical storms can gain intensity so quickly: The Gulf of Mexico's "Loop Current" is likely intensifying hurricanes that pass over eddies of warm water that spin off the main current.
The Loop Current is a horseshoe-shaped feature that flows clockwise, transferring warm subtropical waters from the Caribbean Sea through the Yucatan Straits into the Gulf of Mexico.
After Hurricane Katrina and a week before Hurricane Rita scientists deployed Airborne Expendable Conductivity, Temperature and Depth profilers; Current Profilers; and Bathythermographs to obtain information on water temperature to depths of up to 3,300 feet.
Learn more about these studies at the National Science Foundation web site.