Vol. 58 No. 1 (2019)

A method for a rapid measurement of geostrophic currents in coastal waters: A bay case study

Anatoliy Filonov Filonov
Universidad de Guadalajara
Diego A. Pantoja
Universidad de Guadalajara
Omar Mireles-Loera
Universidad de Guadalajara
Iryna Tereshchenko
Universidad de Guadalajara
Lydia Betty Ladah
Cesar Monzon
Universidad de Guadalajara

Published 2019-01-01


  • Banderas Bay,
  • undulating CTD measurements,
  • parallel hydrographic lines,
  • geostrophic currents
  • Bahía de Banderas,
  • CTD ondulante,
  • Líneas Paralelas de hidrografía,
  • Corrientes geostróficas

How to Cite

Filonov, A. F., Pantoja, D. A., Mireles-Loera, O., Tereshchenko, I., Ladah, L. B., & Monzon, C. (2019). A method for a rapid measurement of geostrophic currents in coastal waters: A bay case study. Geofísica Internacional, 58(1), 73-79. https://doi.org/10.22201/igeof.00167169p.2019.58.1.2068


Geostrophic currents were computed using the method of fast thermohaline measurements from data obtained with an undulating CTD along two parallel transects in coastal waters. The method allows for the calculation of geostrophic currents in every quadrilateral set formed by each consecutive cast of the parallel hydrographic lines. With this methodology, it was possible to obtain very rapid data; for example, if the length of a section was 20 km, the distance between soundings was 1 km and the measuring depth was up to 300 meters, it would only take ~5 hours to complete the survey. Validation of the proposed method was carried out in Banderas Bay, México, where a very dense survey was taken; almost 120 casts were sampled over 2 days. With this sampling it was possible to construct a regular mesh where hydrographic data were objectively mapped and then the geostrophic currents were calculated in the traditional way using the GSW_TEOS10 toolbox. The root-mean-square deviation between both calculations was less than 3.5 %. In the case of the present study, the methodology was tested in a bay, where currents showed relatively stable patters that were persistent and well structured, suggesting this methodology may be applied to other sites, but caution is suggested in sites with large variability.